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Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Blair's Attic by Joseph C. Lincoln
Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems
The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye by Nancy Springer
The Complete Guide to Digital Photography (2nd edition) by Michael Freeman
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
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Ghostbusters, Volume 6: Trains, Brains, and Ghostly Remains by Erik Burnham
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The Great EB: the Story of the Encyclopaedia Britannica by Herman Kogan
How to be a Baby ... By Me, the Big Sister by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Ink by Amanda Sun
Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Japanese Aesthetics and Anime: The Influence of Tradition by Dani Cavallaro
Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear
Let's Say Hi to Friends Who Fly! by Mo Willems The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
The Loud Book! by Deborah Underwood
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Sketchtravel by Gerald Guerlais
Socksquatch by Frank W. Dormer
Unfed by Kirsty McKay
University by Bentley Little
Voltron Force Volume 4: Rise of the Beast King by Brian Smith
xxxHolic Volume 16 by CLAMP
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Comments for Better Nate Than Ever

Better Nate Than Ever: 10/20/14

cover art

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle is 42nd street reimagined for the younger set. Nate Foster lives Jankburg, PA, which might as well be the middle the of nowhere. Nate and his friend Libby, adore all things Broadway. They know Broadway's history and trivia in the same way that my father knows American film history from the 1930s-1950s. When there's a casting call for an upcoming E.T. the Musical (can you imagine such a monster?), Libby helps Nate run away from home long enough to try out.

Nate isn't the typical stage brat. He hasn't been taking lessons all his life. He's not especially physically fit. He's actually the age of the lead character (and they tend to cast younger). He's an overweight, mensch of teen who is gaga for Broadway and he hopes he can win a spot in the production on his enthusiasm alone.

Following Nate through his grueling adventures in Manhattan helped me remember how much I adore the American musical. As a kid, my parents took me and my brother to local productions of the classics on a semi-regular basis. As an adult, I haven't kept up. Part of that is a lack of disposable income and a lack of time. But there's still the old movie versions, and those I've been watching. Turns out my son is rather fond of 42nd Street too.

The trip to New York is also a bit of an awakening to Nate. Although Manhattan is a huge culture shock, it's also a welcoming place. It's also a place where Nate begins to realize he might be gay. But as Nate reminds everyone in first chapter or so of the book, his sexuality isn't up for discussion and is basically his business alone.

Reading this book as a parent of a boy about Nate's age, I love the message of letting children (specially newly minted teens) take risks. Yes, Nate's parents don't know at first what he's doing. And yes, he has consequences for his actions, but they do warm to his plan as he's clearly got potential and he's clearly passionate about his future in musical theater.

Five stars

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