#tbt is usually reserved for books that published ten or more years ago, but I am making another exception for Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. Nate Foster is an eighth grader who lives in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, far away from the lights on Broadway, but he has big Broadway dreams. Unfortunately, his family focuses more on football and his jock older brother. Luckily, Nate has a BFF named Lizzie, who shares his passion for musicals and jazz hands. When she discovers that there are open auditions for "ET: the Musical," she and Nate concoct a plan for his to hop a bus to NY, audition and return to Jankburg, hopefully with the part, hopefully with no one the wiser.
Mr. Federle knows Broadway, having been a dancer in a few musicals as well as NFL halftime shows. His debut is hilarious as well as heartwarming as he subtly weaves in themes of acceptance and issues such as sibling rivalry, dysfunctional families, bullying and best friendship.
Better Nate Than Never was published in 2013 and was named a YALSA Best Book as well as an ALA Notable. It also won a Golden Kite (YA) Award and made the Rainbow List. The audio version of the book, narrated by the author won an Odyssey Honor. A year later, the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! was published. Mr. Federle visited TMS while on tour for that book. The Nate Trilogy came to an end in 2018 with the publication of Nate Expectations.
Mr. Federle moved on from writing for children and young adults when he wrote the libretto for the Broadway production of Tuck Everlasting. After that, he was a co-screenwriter of the movie, Ferdinand. He then became involved with High School Musical. He got to adapt his debut for Disney and also directed it. It debuted in select theaters on March 15 and starts streaming on Disney+ tomorrow.