What I loved:
Nate is a square peg trying to fit into the round hole society — and his family — have thrust upon him. In a typical all-American town, where boys are expected to like sports, be tough, and do *manly* things, Nate's love of singing and broadway sets him up for countless jabs at school, and even a few jabs to his face and gut. But when he steals away for a weekend to New York City to audition for E.T. the Musical, he finds an entire city of people just like him — a place where freaks and geeks alike can be themselves without fear of a beating or becoming a social outcast.
What I loved most was that a huge part of BETTER NATE THAN EVER is about finding your "tribe," finding where you belong and surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to be who you truly are. To not hide your true self, but rather let it shine, unabashedly.
Federle has a beautiful, first person narrative that truly spoke to my inner 13-year-old. He captured a middle grader's voice perfectly, and his humorous metaphors were insightful and original. There were several times I went back to read them over just because I thought they were so brilliantly spot on. Federle makes you think about the world in new ways and expands your heart and mind.
Things you should know:
BETTER NATE THAN EVER is narrated by Nate as though he's standing in front of you, telling you his story, so you get a lot of introspection and reflection. He also shares past memories at times to get you up to speed on his emotional journey. Readers who prefer non-stop action might overlook this book, but Federle's easy-going writing style is quick-paced and easy to fall into, and the humor will be a big plus with kids.