Friday, May 8, 2015

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle | Book Review

Better Nate Than Ever
(I love this cover because I love when there a little "giveaways" incorporated that don't make sense until you read the book, like the bike in front of the moon on this one.  Makes you feel like you're in an insiders club or something.)

Flashback Friday Review!

I just finished Five, Six, Seven, Nate and LOVED it, but I saw that I never posted a review of the first book, Better Nate Than Ever.  Shame on me.

I originally read Better Nate Than Ever in August 2013 and I thought it was ok.  I only gave it 3 of 5 stars, but I think it had something to do with the fact that the book is classified YA (at least, at my library), but it reads much more Juv.

Here's my review, from Goodreads:  Nate Foster is thirteen, fantastic, and knows it. He decided to travel by himself all the way from Jankburg, PA (45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh) to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. The problems start adding up rather quickly: he gets caught in a downpour and has to arrange for new clothes for his audition; his parents discover that he's missing; he gets hungry but doesn't have any money left... Along the way, Nate will not only have his confidence bolstered after his audition but he'll discover an entirely new, "bigger" world in New York and a long-estranged family member. With the help of his best friend Libby, the support of his aunt Heidi, and the love of his family Nate will discover that he's a better Nate than ever.

This book would have a been a great middle grades book, but there were some elements that felt rather forced. For instance, there's a whole scene tacked in where Nate gets a glimpse inside a gay nightclub and it all kinds of excited about it. But totally totally unnecessary to the plot. Nate announces in the first chapter that he's not gay. Or straight, for that matter, but not gay. His sexuality is not supposed to matter. So why the extended nightclub scene?

Another unnecessary aspect: the best-friend-back-home, Libby, has a mom who's really sick with cancer. Why is this a plot point? It's reinforced throughout the entire novel. Unnecessary downer in this otherwise quite light book.

I just loved getting to go on this adventure with Nate. I loved his guts and confidence. I loved his 13 year old logic and perseverance. I loved his honesty. I have heard that there's a follow-up and I plan to read it. I have a young teen in mind to recommend this one too; I think it'll resonate with specific people, specific teens but it won't have really wide-spread fandom.

Obviously, I enjoyed it enough to pick up the sequel!  It really is a pretty light, pretty quick read.  And look for my review of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! on Monday!

*I checked out my copy of Better Nate Than Ever from my local library at the urging of my sister.  (She gave it 5 of 5 stars, by the way.)

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