I’m so happy that Tim Federle wrote a sequel to the wonderful Better Nate than Ever because I definitely needed a little more Nate Foster in my life.
If you haven’t read Better Nate than Ever, let me redirect you to my review of it here. And if you’re thinking “Wait, is this a kids book? I don’t read kids books,” stand still, so I can virtually slap you for such ignorance! Tim Federle’s books about the precociously awkward Nate Foster are not to be missed.
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! begins with Nate packing and getting ready to leave Janksburg, the small town he’s from, for the shining lights of Broadway in New York City. Yes, folks, as you can assume from the ending of the last book, Nate got the gig as E.T. in “E.T. The Musical.” Well, sort-of. He is one of two understudies for the role. Either way, it’s an exciting opportunity, and you know Nate with his booming optimism will make the most of it.
Leaving Libby behind in Janksburg is the hardest thing for Nate to do. She’s his biggest supporter and the reason why he’s one step closer to Broadway stardom. As he navigates the new world and in workings of Broadway, meeting new people and still trying to stay connected to the people at home (mainly Libby), Nate discovers more about himself and gets closer to making his dreams come true.
The audiobook is honestly the best way to experience Nate’s journey. Federle, who also narrates, knows exactly how to express Nate, from his inner thoughts, embarrassing exclamations, and little emotional pep talks. It’s like you’re right there with Nate, getting ready to play E.T. yourself.
I love seeing Nate meet and form new relationships with his fellow actors and others. There are many moments between Nate and other characters, new and kind of new, that resonate with the listener. The friendship he forms with Asella, the other E.T. understudy, is unexpected, entertaining and meaningful. His interactions with Jordan, the star of the musical, will also definitely mean something very special to readers. (Oh my, that ending made my heart skip so many beats.)
Nate is like the little brother you always wish you could have. (No offense to my actual little brother.) It’s heartbreaking to see his parents and brother miss out on how truly awesome this kid is. How can you not want to know this human? He’s pretty rad, funny, and most importantly NICE. Without a doubt, Nate Foster sells these books because Federle creates such a winning and nuanced character that you can’t help but seriously relate to and love.
By creating Nate and this story, Tim Federle is helping make the world a better place. He makes me believe in a better world, where people like Nate can be appreciated for who they are and what they contribute to society. It may seem like one little story about one kid’s big dreams, but it manages to be so ambitious and thought-provoking in what it says about tolerance, friendship, family, and love. It transcends the genre to become a something greater and altogether more meaningful, speaking to readers beyond the age of 13.
Take a bow, Tim Federle.
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle is now available wherever Audio CD books are sold. Listen to an excerpt below:
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (April 1, 2014)
Length: Approx. 7 hours
Series: Better Nate than Ever – Book 2
Source: Unabridged Audio CD – Provided by publisher
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Musicals, Friendship, Coming of Age
Completed: May 2014