Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Teen Tuesday: Life is Like a Musical: how to live, love and lead like a star by Tim Federle

Life is Like a Musical how to live, love and lead like a star by Tim Federle. Unabridged audiobook on four compact discs. Four hours. Read by the author. Hachette Audio, October, 2017. 9781478997733.

Teen Tuesday features Life is Like a Musical: How to live, love and lead like a star by Tim Federle. Tim visited TMS in January, 2014 to promote his second children's book, Five, Six, Seven, Nate the day after he won two Youth Media Awards for his first children's book, Better Nate Than Ever! Tim drew on his experience as a theater kid in a middle school who valued football over theater and brought his message of positivity and acceptance whenever he visited schools. He went on to write a YA novel, The Great American Whatever and the libretto for the Broadway musical, Tuck Everlasting since then. In Life is Like a Musical, Tim shares 50 tips about life he learned from his experience on the stage - on Broadway and off-off Broadway; chorus boy to dance captain, in hilarious 50 chapters. 

Ramblings and review: The above is the necessarily short announcement/ posting on the student announcements/ my library web pages. My ramblings and review follow.

When I went to order this, I put the hardcover in my shopping basket. Then, it occurred to me to check to see if there was an audiobook available. Tim narrates his own work and is an author who can and should narrate his own work. There was; so I switched out the hardcover for the audio. While listening to Tim's warm and humorous performance of his book, I kept wishing for the hardcover so that I could dog-ear pages or, <gasp> HIGHLIGHT the funny, wise, just plain decent advice he imparts. I did end up ordering the book to reread with my eyes. I am donating both print and audio copies to my school library. 

Just as he did with his adult beverage recipe books (really, they are such fun. Look them up),Tim breathes new life into the self-help genre with his witty analogies to theater. While self-identified theater geeks will eat this one whole, any teen reader will be able to relate to Tim's gentle, positive humor. It's like getting advice from a cool big brother. Without the headlocks and noogies.

If you're looking for a fresh new title to liven up the self-help section, Life is Like a Musical is your ticket! 

Optional reading:
Full disclosure here: I cannot be objective about Tim Federle! I adored Better Nate Than Ever so much that when I spied a man reading it while on the security line at Newark Airport, I wanted to start a conversation. He was lucky because the snake of a security line never wound close enough. I was on my way to ALA Annual in Chicago. Imagine my surprise when I recognized Tim in the Simon & Schuster booth on the exhibit floor! I told him how much I loved Nate and my experience at the airport. He seemed genuinely interested and pleased. Then he told me that he had written a sequel and asked if I wanted an arc! 

Later that year, I was asked if I wanted to host Tim while he toured to promote Five, Six, Seven, Nate! Duh! Of course! As I mention above, his stop at TMS happened to be the day after his wins at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. No one in the YMA audience was cheering louder than me. I had just finished rereading Better Nate Than Ever with my years as I pulled into my hotel parking lot on the Friday before the awards announcements.

He was utterly charming on stage at TMS. Both students and teachers were engaged and enthusiastic. My fandom was firmly cemented. Since then, I've listened to him speak on panels and accept an Odyssey Award for his second Nate book. (In other words, stalked.) I laughed and cried over his YA debut, The Great American Whatever. Later, I did the same when I reread it with my ears. The world of children's literature is filled with many very nice authors. Tim stands out as the nicest among the nice. He's unfailingly polite and positive.

And yes, I splurged on tickets to see Tuck Everlasting with the hub. I would've seen it again but unfortunately, it closed quickly. Too bad.

Total fangirl here.

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