Nate Foster has big dreams. Read more...
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Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he's wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he'd settle for "seeing" a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he's stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby's help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There's an open casting call for "E.T.: The Musical," and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.
Tim Federle writes a warm and witty debut that's full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up--because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home.
- ISBN-13: 9781442446892
- ISBN-10: 1442446897
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: February 2013
- Page Count: 275
- Reading Level: Ages 9-13
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-12-17
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)
A runaway headed for bright lights
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.