Nate Foster will never fit in with the kids in his hometown of Jankburg, Pennsylvania. In a place that worships sports stars, 12-year-old Nate prefers to belt out Broadway tunes loud enough for the neighbors to hear. So when Nate learns about an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, he knows that this could be his only chance to escape.
In Better Nate Than Ever, by Broadway veteran Tim Federle, Nate travels to New York armed only with his cell phone, a box of Entenmann’s donuts and his mom’s ATM card.
Once Nate arrives in the city, things don’t go exactly according to plan. From getting caught in a downpour (in his audition clothes), to underestimating the number of kids interested in playing Elliot in E.T.: The Musical, Nate’s big plan for escape crumbles all around him. However, just like on stage, all you need is one twist of fate and everything can turn around.
A confession: Your reviewer is a huge fan of Broadway musicals. And on its surface, this book is written for fans like me. However, there is so much more to this story. Nate is rash and immature, yes, but he is also determined and courageous, and desperate to figure out where in the world he fits. Filled with adventure, suspense, humor and unique characters, Better Nate Than Ever will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever decided to stop waiting and make their own dreams come true.Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Federle's hilarious and heartwarming debut novel follows 13-year-old musical theater-loving Nate Foster on his meticulously choreographed overnight getaway to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Catchy chapter titles framed in marquee lights ("This'll Be Fast: You Might as Well Meet Dad, Too") and running gags, like Nate's use of Broadway flops as epithets ("Moose Murders it all to tarnation!"), add to the theatrical atmosphere as Nate breathlessly narrates his backstory and real-time adventures. Federle (who has himself worked on Broadway) combines high-stakes drama with slapstick comedy as Nate travels by Greyhound bus--dying cellphone and dollars in hand--determined to get to the audition, conceal his lack of chaperone, and compete in the cutthroat world of child actors and stage parents. Nate's desperation to escape his stifling home environment, instant love affair with the city, questions about his sexuality, and relationship with his dysfunctional but sympathetic family add emotional depth. Federle's supporting characters affirm theater's "no small roles" adage, and E.T. references abound--like Elliott's bicycle in the film, this book soars. Ages 9-13. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 5-8--Irrepressible 13-year-old Nate Foster is certain that stardom awaits, as soon as he can leave his stifling life in small-town Jankburg, Pennsylvania, behind. Using his ever-loyal best friend, Libby, as an alibi, he sneaks away to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Nate and Libby have an endearing habit of using the names of Broadway flops as stand-ins for foul language. A madcap adventure featuring bossy receptionists, cutthroat fellow performers, and wacky casting directors follows. With the help of an understanding aunt, Nate remains goofy and upbeat in the face of constant criticism and rejection. A fun and suspenseful ending will leave readers guessing whether Nate scores the part or not. Federle's semiautobiographical debut explores weighty issues such as sibling rivalry, bullying, religious parents, and gay or questioning teens with a remarkably lighthearted and humorous touch totally appropriate for young audiences.--Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta, GA[Page 156]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.