Monday, January 29, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. 275 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, February 5, 2013. 9781442446892. (Purchased)

This went on the morning announcements this morning: Middle Grade Monday features Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. Better Nate Than Ever was Tim's debut and was published in 2013. A sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! was published in 2014. Between then and now, Tim debuted a picture book, Tommy Can't Stop, a YA novel, which will be featured tomorrow, an advice book, which was featured earlier this year, co-wrote the libretto for the Broadway musical, Tuck Everlasting and co-wrote the screenplay for the animated film, Ferdinand. He also co-edited an upcoming story collection with Maureen Johnson called, How I Resist: activism and hope for a new generation.

The announcements on the morning show need to be short by necessity. But here, I can talk as much as I want. Back to the Nate books:

Small towns can be brutal for a kid with big dreams, especially if those dreams involve Broadway musicals and jazz hands. Eleven-year-old Nate Foster maintains his optimism thanks to a wicked sense of humor and a best friend who gets him. He lives in Jankburg, PA with a fairly dysfunctional family that worships all things football. At school, he's perceived as gay and bullied relentlessly. Best friend, Lizzie learns that there is an open casting call for a new Broadway musical based on ET during the same weekend Nate's parents will be away. Nate hops on a bus headed to the Big Apple to pursue his dream.

Nate's first-person narration is at turns hilariously funny and so utterly poignant, tissues are needed. Nate is one of a handful of characters that will reside in my heart forever. I read this book twice, once with my eyes and later with my ears, coincidentally finishing it as I pulled into my hotel garage in Philadelphia to attend ALAMW14. Better Nate Than Ever won two Youth Media Awards the following Monday! 

I also read the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! twice. In my review, I wished for a third Nate book. That wish is coming true - stayed tuned for the Waiting on Wednesday post! And tune in tomorrow because Tim's YA debut, The Great American Whatever is the Teen Tuesday feature. With a picture book, middle grade and YA under his belt, he does it all. Does this man sleep? 

He hasn't been around long enough to have a book eligible for #tbt. I already featured the book that could be a Fact Friday entry here. While he does have three other books that could be considered non-fiction, they are hilarious recipes for drinks, as in alcoholic drinks - two based on literature for adults and one based on nursery rhymes, but aimed at grown ups. They are books I recommend to my grown-up friends.

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