Nate’s off to New York City for his first Broadway performance. He’s so ready for this. Sure, he’s an understudy, but an understudy to a lead role! Of course, he gets there and he learns he’s actually the SECOND understudy. Basically, Nate had dreams of suddenly becoming awesome and beloved like I did when I went off to college. He thought a star would be born immediately, but life is not that easy. Actually, most people are mean to him, he’s a terrible dancer, and he’s being cut from the chorus parts left and right.
All of this happens with Nate’s trademark humor. He continues to swear with Broadway flops, and is delightfully judgmental of both himself and others. I really love how much Nate remains himself while also growing in the course of the novel. He’s coming of age in a lot of ways, but the core of who he is remains consistent. Nate’s also a really flawed guy, which I love. He’s not the nicest person sometimes, but he just feels so real. Plus, he’s young and he’s learning.
One of the best aspects of the book was Nate’s friendship/mentorship with Asella, a veteran actress. They both learn from each other, and it’s just so adorable how he bonds with this much older woman. In fact, I loved the way the book highlighted the different skill sets people have. Nate’s not a great dancer, not the best singer, and his looks don’t really scream leading man (or boy). However, he does have an amazing memory, and basically makes the best understudy ever. There are things he can be amazing at. The one thing I wasn’t as sold on was that Nate does get his dream (in a limited way) of being a star through some shenanigans. On the one hand, that’s what the reader wants to see; it’s nice to see Nate succeed and achieve his dreams. But, at the same time, I was loving the props given to being an understudy, and I felt like that was undercut a bit.
All the details about training for Broadway and the production of the show were so awesome to read about. It’s sort of like Smash, only better, middle grade, hilarious and not full of relationship drama. Obviously, I knew Broadway shows were productions, but this show seems like a hot mess a lot of the time. I’m side-eying this musical, which is totally intentional on Federle’s part, but it’s fun and cool to learn more than I knew before.
Finally, Nate gets his first romance and it is a-freaking-dorable. He has a secret admirer and I don’t want to spoil what happens, but it’s the cutest. Literally, I finished the audiobook and went AWWW for like two minutes, because so damn sweet.
The Final Verdict:
If you liked Better Nate Than Ever, yes, you should read Five, Six, Seven, Nate! for sure. If you didn’t read Better Nate Than Ever, then you should probably do that, and then read this one.