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Better Nate Than Ever

(Better Nate Than Ever #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  7,430 ratings  ·  1,170 reviews
Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he'd settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. Ther ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster BFYR
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Lila I'd classify 'Better Nate than Ever' as realistic fiction.…moreI'd classify 'Better Nate than Ever' as realistic fiction.(less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  7,430 ratings  ·  1,170 reviews

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Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I know this may sound like a bit of an over exaggeration, but I think Better Nate Than Ever may be one of my favorite books I’ve read.

Just like the protagonist, Nate, this book just oozes a sort of charm and hilarious innocence that is impossible not to love. Readers of all ages (I’m 24 and loved it) will find something that they can relate to in this hilarious tale of innocence, dreams, and family.

There’s just something about Nate that readers of all ages and sexes will love. He’s innocent, fun
Hannah Greendale
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Nate Foster dreams of starring in a Broadway show. When auditions are held in New York for E.T.: The Musical, Nate sees his chance to break free of his small town and launch a career in the big city. With the help of his best friend Libby, he embarks on a daring escape to New York, where one simple audition unravels into a night of unanticipated adventure.

There's a delightful sprinkling of humor in this book, emphasized by Nate's love of Broadway flops and his honesty about being an awkward, bu
Adam Silvera

Former Broadway performer and debut author Tim Federle takes readers behind the curtains of a boy's journey to make a name for himself in the big city.

Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster is fleeing Jankburg, Pa., for New York City so he can audition for the role of Elliot in E.T: The Broadway Musical Version. Nate's parents are away, celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary, and his "girl-addicted" 16-year-old brother, Anthony, encourages him to stay over at h
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Better Nate Than Ever was such a complete joy to read (devour, really)! This book sparkles and shines as bright as the lights of Broadway, and is as heartwarming as it is hilarious. Debut author Tim Federle has delivered a smash hit and has done so with addicting charm and flair.

In Better Nate Than Ever we follow Nate Foster as he sets out on a big journey to make his dreams come true. Nate dreams of starring in a Broadway show and with the ingenious help of his BFF Libby, he concocts an
Kerry Kenney
Apr 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
First of all, I'm an adult, so the book wasn't written for me. I read a review of this book in Entertainment Weekly and learned the author used to dance in Broadway shows. I thought it would be wonderful to read a book written by someone with such an unusual viewpoint for a middle grade reader.

The book is funny, Nate's voice is authentic.

My low rate is for two reasons. One, the book used the word "f-g" multiple times.

When I was growing up, this unfortunate word was used constantly on playground

A kid who might have found someplace where he doesn't have to change anything about himself, to fit in.

(A kid going as himself for Halloween, but the best version, the ultimate.)

A better Nate than ever.

Nate Foster , a 13 years old boy from Pittsburgh, has a backstory- he can sing, he loves to sing and he knows EVERY SINGLE MUSICAL on this planet.

And Nate Forster has a dream- he wants to star in a Broadway show .

And Nate Forster has a plan - to take a bus to New York to audition f
Mary Catherine
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5 out of 5 stars on Ordinary People, Extraordinary Works

Okay, so I had made this (somewhat strange) decision that I was going to stop reviewing books, save the random thoughts on GoodReads. And for a while - a long while - I was awesome about it. Sure, that had to do with lack of time and reading manuscripts instead of books, but that is not the point here. The point here is actually that I have to throw away the idea that I'm not reviewing on this site because I found the most awesome middle gr
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Better Nate Than Ever was absolutely terrible for my reading schedule. It totally made me not want to read . . . anything else, that is. Seriously, it's a good thing this was a short audiobook or I would probably still have put off my other books to finish this one. I just kept inventing reasons that I needed to listen to more, tasks to do so I could listen rather than read my print books, which is a good sign.

Why Did I Read This Book?
Well, Better Nate Than Ever was already on my radar, because
Ulysses Dietz
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I resisted Tim Federle's "Better Nate than Ever" just because it was so popular and has been getting such incredible press.

But Federle is coming to my local bookstore and I figured I should read it, and go meet him.

Good move. It's a wonderful book. Yes, as one of the lone low-score reviewers said, it might be a book for people who are into Broadway and that whole New York experience - but given that this means millions of potential people across the country, then why is that a criticism? Some p
Aaron Hartzler
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Featuring the best title of a YA book this calendar year, NATE will make you laugh, yes, but you'll have tears in your eyes while you do. Federle writes humor with a sort of effortless breeze—like he cut his teeth on a remote control watching reruns of I LOVE LUCY—while simultaneously plumbing the depth of feeling found in being seized by a dream that inspires you to risk everything, even when you're not exactly sure why.

This book is a call to action, really; NATE will whisper courage in your e
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Most middle-school kids
Recommended to Margaret by: My daughter, Jen.
Better Nate Than Ever is an enjoyable and humorous confection of a book, Federle’s first aimed at the 9-13 year-old reader. Its protagonist, Nate, is an undertall, overweight, unathletic eighth-grader whose consuming passion is Broadway musicals. His older brother Anthony is, on the other hand, an accomplished high school athlete. They live in western Pennsylvania in a town outside Pittsburgh where athletic prowess matters and a love for musicals marks a boy as somewhat less than masculine.

Richard Kramer
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
BETTER NATE THAN EVER, Tim Federle’s new novel, is about different kinds of flight … the flight its title character, the undersized 13 year old Nate Foster, makes from misery in his hometown of Jankburg PA --to a Broadway audition for a musical version of ET (which is actually a great idea).

It’s about another kind of flight, too, that of the imagination that lifts Nate up beyond the range of the taunts aimed at him by the school bullies who think they know who he is and want to force him to acce
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adventures! Adventures of 13 year old boy who runs away to NYC for musical audition!

This is an honest, funny and charming story. Got a few twists and turns that surprised. I love the atmosphere of the book. Naïveté, optimism and determination Nate has are admirable (I love the kid so much).
Nate is a wonderful protagonist, it was such a pleasure to read the book from his pov. Secondary characters are multi-dimensional and realistic; the family dynamic was fascinating, too. Kudos to Nate and Libby
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, ya
Nailed it! Tim Federle has written one of the funniest novels of the year. I was roaring reading this tale of a young 13 year-old Broadway wannabe and his madcap adventures. I truly could not stop laughing at many of the passages because they were pitch-perfect. For anyone who has ever done theater or know those that have, you will be screaming with laughter.
This isn't to say that Better Nate Than Ever is just a light-hearted romp. There are some poignant moments dealing with Nate's sexuality an
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Adorably funny YA story about 13 yo Nate Foster. It is true that this book may be written with teenagers in mind. I even see my own son reading this book when he turns 10 or so. But for now I am glad I found it and enjoyed it so immensely.

Pick up this book if you want to come along in the brave and hilarious adventure of 13 year old Nate taking off on his own from his home town in Western PA for an audition in NYC. Of course Nate can't pull this one off on his own and he counts with his partner
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read in a long time. In fact, I think I will share it with everybody working on their debut novel as an example of how to do it. Made me remember how much I loved New York City when I moved here to be an actor and writer way back in 1979. I believe I was 5 at the time.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay, so this book was intresting. In the middle of the book I was bored out of my mind! I just wanted the book to end. After that it started getting better and at the end it was fine. This book was just not for me, I was SO SO SO bored! You should try it out, but it is very painful through out the middle.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book. Where do I start?

First, with the good. Federle is a good writer, and the story moves at a good pace. I don't remember ever reading a book about a kid who was so interested and committed to theater. Nate's ability to navigate his way to New York City and tryout for a big-time production is amazing and inspiring, even as he deals with bullies (and even grown ups) who do not take him seriously, make fun of his "flaws", and generally put roadblock after roadblock in his path. He struggles
Carol Royce Owen
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Started and finished this book today as it was a very easy read, witty and lighthearted, but with the root of bullying propelling the main character, Nate, forward to overcome every obstacle to make something of himself.

Nate is a small 13 year old boy who, together with his best friend Libby, has planned an overnight bus trip from his home in Jankburg, PA to NYC to audition for the role of Elliot in E.T. the Musical. Although everything goes as planned, when he gets to NYC he quickly discovers
Kerry Cerra
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
Better Nate Than Ever is the perfect example of why I love middle grade books more than a perfectly made Starbucks Vanilla Chai Latte. There’s something about kids in this age range that is so freaking cool. They’re still finding their way in a giant, often scary world, but their perceptions are so dead-on I sometimes wish we could all wear middle-grade blinders daily.

Nate’s tired of living in the grey world of Jankburg, PA. Worse than that, he’s sick of being bullied for his love of musical the
I can not express how much I loved this book!! Such a fun read!! I used to work as an assistant to a Children's Talent Agent, so I am familiar with the process. It was fun to read about some of my old haunts as well.

I love this story because it reminds me so much of some of my friends and how I imagine they were as kids. The boys in the middle of nowhere who are obsessed with musicals and just trying to survive high school. They have not decided what their sexuality is, but others have decided f
Dov Zeller
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book very close to inspired me to create a shelf called "adorable."

I too grew up gender-non-conforming in Pennsylvania, and dreamed of escaping, so there was extra meaning in that, though I was not particularly theatrical. Nate reminds me a lot of my childhood best friend who was very involved in theater and wanted to do exactly what Nate is doing. (He did finally move to NY. I think he is no longer acting, but he seems to be enjoying his life there.)

This is a fun book and though there wer
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
I stayed up all night reading this book! This was getting a lot of buzz where I work. How can it not? It’s about a boy who runs away to audition for E.T.: The Musical! You can’t help but be taken in by Nate’s wide-eyed wonderment of New York City. As awkward as he was and the sometimes cringeworthy situations he finds himself in, he was definitely relatable. Another great character is his best friend Libby. I’m rooting for Nate and am hoping there’ll be more books to come.

I decided to listen to
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Would I in a million years put this in my kinder-third grade library? Nope.

But did I laugh our loud repeatedly? You betcha.

Best audiobook I've ever listened to. The author read it perfectly which is proof that more authors should do their own recordings! Fabulous!

12-13 year olds would be a good fit for this one!

4.5 stars
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-tbr-e

Awesome. And so cute. So so so so cute.
Can't say anything else. It was just cute.
One thing more: Nate is so freaking adorable ❤️

Loved almost everything about this book. Only the ending was somewhat disappointing. It came way too abrupt for my liking.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, realistic, j, gltbq
A great example of when an author SHOULD read his own talking book.
Totally likeable characters, lovely exuberant emotions.
As a former thespian, I loved the insiders view of the audition process for a major Broadway production.
Thoroughly entertaining, funny, and sweet.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The inside flap of the dust jacket of Better Nate Than Ever states that the book is for ages 9 to 13, but I would add that adults would enjoy this too. 13-year-old Nate Foster runs away from his Pennsylvania home in order to audition for ET the Musical. His parents are away for a couple of days and his older brother pays very little attention to him. With his best friend’s help, he should be able to pull off a trip to New York City for the audition and be home before anyone misses him.
I’ve neve
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
we gave this book to our fourth grader for Christmas, not knowing anything about it. he came to us very upset the other night because of the book takes the Lord's name in vain lots of times. we felt bad that he had encountered that when he wasn't prepared for it, and I thought maybe I should take a look at it, too. little did I know that the number of times the character says "oh God" would be the least of my worries.
As far as subject matter goes , I think this book would be challenging but app
Mary Addison-lamb
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh. It's been awhile since I read a "young reader's" book, but the author's mother is a high school friend (her son looks just like her, only handsome)and I loved the premise.

An almost 13 year old boy who is interested in musical theater and stuck in a dull town in Pennsylvania where he is bullied by his classmates, cooks up a plan to go to an audition in NY for "ET the Musical." His best friend who is his partner in all things musical, helps to cover for him when he takes his mother's
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I needed something funny, so I reread this on audiobook. Still hilarious, still made me cry in one specific place.
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Tim Federle is an award-winning writer whose works include the New York Times notable books "The Great American Whatever" and "Better Nate Than Ever," the global bestseller "Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist," and the Tony-nominated Broadway musical "Tuck Everlasting."

A native of San Francisco who grew up in Pittsburgh, Tim now divides his time between New York City and the inte

Other books in the series

Better Nate Than Ever (3 books)
  • Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (Better Nate Than Ever, #2)
  • Nate Expectations (Better Nate Than Ever, #3)

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“So what do you like about New York so much? That you would venture all the way here and not tell anyone?”
“Two boys were dancing together in a club,” I want to say, “and nobody stopped them.”
“So what do you like about New York so much? That you would venture all the way here and not tell anyone?”
“Two boys were dancing together in a club,” I want to say, “and nobody stopped them.” But instead I say, “I want to be on Broadway, and you can't do that forty-five minutes outside of Pittsburgh.”
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