I get especially excited by books that take me to new places, as well as books that introduce me to characters I really want to spend time with.
Enter 13-year-old Nate Foster in Tim Federle’s fantastic debut novel “Better Nate Than Ever,” which this weekend was featured in The New York Times (go, Tim!) From the first page, I knew I’d found a new friend.
The book follows Nate as he travels to New York City from Western Pennsylvania to audition for E.T., The Musical on Broadway. The fast-paced narrative will have you yearning to turn the page before you’re done reading, but hold back… you’ll want to savor each moment. You’ll mourn the final page, but the good news is that a sequel is coming.
I knew I wanted to read this book when I saw Tim’s bio on Amazon. It starts with, “Tim Federle is the author of over seven hundred emails.”
This novel reminded me quite a bit of a middle grade version of “How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater.” (If you haven’t read this novel by Marc Acito, buy it and read it pronto). In both novels, the character’s sexuality takes a back seat to his bubbly personality. While there is an acknowledgement of Nate’s burgeoning sexuality during his trip to New York, it is not the highlight; when Nate sees two men kissing, he is awed to notice that no one punches them. Nate is Nate, and he is not surprised that he is Nate. I found this light touch refreshing.
If you want to laugh with and root for an underdog, read this book! I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.