Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Better Nate Than Ever

Better Nate Than Ever
By Tim Federle, read by the author
Published 2013 by Simon & Schuster Audio

All Nate has ever wanted is to star in a Broadway show. When he hears about an open casting call for E.T. The Musical, all it takes is a little nudge from his friend and Nate finds himself on an overnight adventure to New York City, taking his chance. Of course, his adventure is a secret and surely will go off without any problems, right?

I think the best possible word to describe this book is infectious. I know, I know - that word doesn't necessarily have the best connotations. But it's really the best word, and I think that's particularly true for the audio version of this story. Nate's enthusiasm and positivity are infectious and Federle's narration of his own book captures that infectious nature perfectly.

Nate is an absolutely charming, if slightly exasperating, narrator. For most of the book, I wanted to be his best friend, but I also wanted to shake him a little. But even my exasperation with him was mostly because of his charm - he thinks everything about his trip to New York will be perfect if he just tries his best. He also thinks New York is a city full of magic, leading him to look at even the most mundane things through magic-filled eyes. This could completely backfire and come off as insincere and cloying, but Federle makes it work perfectly. It's such a thrilling sense of appreciation that Nate has; it reminded me of being young and discovering new things and what amazing potential they held.

This book is full of so much charm and completely perfect turns of phrase. Federle was clearly born to write this book. There are lots of little lessons sprinkled throughout the story, feeling quite natural. I think reading this book will leave any reader a better and more compassionate person. I'm very much looking forward to picking up Nate's next adventure.

Also, my personal new favorite things: failed Broadway show curses. This is only the most genius thing ever. Thank you, Mr. Federle.

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