The blurb

Better Nate Than Ever

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. (~Indiebound)

The review

You know how sometimes you hear about a book and you’re like “ooh, I can’t wait for that one,” and then you start reading early reviews and you’re like “no seriously, I need this book like yesterday,” and then when you finally get it you’re almost positive it won’t live up to your super high expectations?

Better Nate Than Ever soared over mine like an alien on a moonlit bike ride.

I read this book in two sittings and wept with laughter pretty much the entire time. Nate is a real kid from page one. He observes everything in his world in that hilarious yet achingly honest way kids do before they put on the convoluted goggles of adulthood – the city (his initial thoughts upon first witnessing the way pedestrian vs vehicle traffic works in Manhattan mirrored my own reaction almost exactly), his parents (“I’m prayin’ for you, boy”), his sexuality (“the two boys kiss. And nobody punches them”), the funny-cause-it’s-true NYC stereotypes (“everyone who almost-made-it-but-didn’t lives in Queens”), and the audition process (which, by the way, is one of the funniest scenes in any book I’ve read in recent memory)…Federle’s writing and Nate’s voice just ring true, word for word.

To call a story “heartwarming” seems so cliche, but it’s the first word that came to mind when I turned the last page. If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t fit in, if you ever wondered if you had the courage to follow your dreams, if you know a whole mess of Sondheim lyrics, if you’ve ever fallen in love with the Big Apple, or hey – if you just love a good adventure – then you’ll want to check this one out.

Like, right now.