Nate Foster's Broadway dreams are finally coming true. Armed with a one-way ticket to New York City, small-town theatre geek Nate is off to start rehearsals for E.T.: The Broadway Musical . It's everything he ever practised his autograph for! But as thrilling as Broadway is, rehearsals are nothing like Nate expects: full of intimidating child stars, cut-throat understudies, and a director who can't even remember Nate's name.
Now, as the countdown to opening night is starting to feel more like a time bomb, Nate is going to need more than his lucky rabbit's foot if he ever wants to see his name in lights. He may even need a showbiz miracle.
Tim Federle is the showrunner and executive producer of "High School Musical: the Musical: the Series," which he created for Disney+. His novels include the New York Times Notable Book "Better Nate Than Ever" and its Lambda Literature Award–winning sequel—which Lin-Manuel Miranda called “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid” (New York Times). A film adaptation of Nate, written and directed by Federle, premiered on Disney+ on April 1, 2022. The film stars Aria Brooks, Joshua Bassett, Lisa Kudrow, and Rueby Wood as Nate.
Tim’s hit series of cocktail recipe books, including "Tequila Mockingbird," have sold over half a million copies worldwide. He cowrote the Broadway musical adaptation of "Tuck Everlasting," and won the Humanitas Prize for cowriting the Golden Globe and Academy Award–nominated Best Animated Feature "Ferdinand," starring John Cena and Kate McKinnon.
A former Broadway dancer, Tim was born in San Francisco, grew up in Pittsburgh, and now divides his time between Los Angeles and the internet.
I'll be honest and say that I went into Five, Six, Seven, Nate with a bit of trepidation. After all, I loved Better Nate Than Ever so much, how could anything compare?
Tim Federle did it.
Nate Foster did it.
Tim Federle is nothing short of a writing genius because I fell in love with Nate all over again in this sequel. While Better Nate was witty and full of laughs, Five, Six... is more of a coming-of-age story that introduces readers to the inner workings of a Broadway show. Still full of wit and firmly capable of bringing smiles to readers' faces, I found myself entranced by Nate's continuing journey through the Big Apple. A bit older, Nate finds himself learning about life, too, as he finds himself with a secret admirer and tries to set up his aunt with a potential boyfriend. It's done in such a way that parents need not worry!
The cast (see what I did there?) of secondary characters are a joy to read from dancer Hollie and singer extraordinaire Keith who become Nate's closest NY confidantes to Broadway veteran Asella, from a strict choreographer to the why-was-he-hired-director, Federle shares his background of theater in a way that is both accessible and interesting.
Nate will continue to delight readers and I found myself cheering him on with every new chapter. I'm in love with this character, his story, and most importantly, the way it was presented. Federle is a brilliant writer who knows how to reach audiences of middle graders and beyond. After Better Nate, I had a feeling Federle would become an author I would always want to read. With his latest book, I know that I will always run out to get his latest work.
To both Mr. Federle and Nate... Take your bow or two or ten, because you both deserve recognition for your brilliant work.
...when you sneak in the last three chapters on the reference desk and pray no one saw you tear up. Twice. Bravo, Tim (as always)!
Full review: You know what this world needs? Instant, microwavable cupcakes and more books just like this one! Books that are smart, funny, clever, and full of literal laugh out loud moments. More books about boys who just happen to be a little on the short side with ordinary non-Bieber hair who think other boys are cuter than girls. Specifically, more books with gay characters that don't make homosexuality "a thing" or a theme or anything. Don't get me wrong, we need those books too, but we also need stories that approach homosexuality subtlety. No mention about Nate's sexuality in the premise or even in the first chapter. Just not necessary. Nate is a one-of-a-kind Broadway nut and personality that is larger than life. I would honestly hang out with this kid if he were real (I think he is real, but just a little older....uh-hem, Mr. Federle).
Besides Nate being an absolute doll that I want to carry in my pocket, I also love his best friend Libby. She is supportive and knows exactly what to say to Nate to make him feel like he can do and be anything - all this from another state. We all need a little bit of Libby in our lives. Nate meets some new friends when he starts rehearsals for E.T. and one relationship takes a sweet turn to the awe in the end.
Can't recommend enough! Be sure to start with Better Nate Than Ever so you can fall in love with Nate from the very beginning!
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! I have a thing when I'm editing or reading for a CP where I highlight lines I love in green highlighter. I would have needed three highlighters for this one!! And the first kiss is totally adorable- may I say even swoonworthy!!!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This story picks up where Better Nate left off. I listened to the audio book again and it was also narrated by Tim Federle.
This was a fun story overall. It was neat to see the inner workings of a Broadway production. There were a lot of funny moments, along with some sweet moments that I was not expecting. Some parts felt a little slow, but then they picked up again. Nate reminds me even more of my son than he did in the previous novel!
There were a lot of great surprises that made for an entertaining read. I am excited to check out the third book in the series, Nate Expectations (most likely as an audio book too).
If I was still teaching musical theatre I would make this required reading for all of my students. Heck, I might call each of them up and tell them to read this book anyway. Also, if I ever meet Tim Federle I might just have to hug him for creating these books.
I don't know where to start so I'll just start by saying I adored this series. Every minute of it. I laugh/snorted through most of it, got teary a few times, and then wanted to applaud for Nate through the last 40 pages. Nate is a wonderful character to read - very real, very sweet, sometimes charmingly oblivious, and coming into his own in so many ways. You can't help but love him and the way he sees the world around him, and you can't help but love the people he loves as well. (Libby especially. I WAS Libby from age 10-25.)
I can't review this book without saying how important it is, as well. I know so many Nates who need to read this, and so many Libbys (the best friend) and James Madisons (the bully) who need it just as much. If I'd had this book when I was in middle school, I would have understood the Nates in my life a lot more, that's for sure. (I also would have begged my parents for tap lessons and acting lessons in addition to my singing lessons, because after reading this I would have decided I wanted to be a Broadway star).
I really liked Better Nate than Ever. But I absolutely loved Five, Six seven, Nate! Having gone through the whole "am I or ain't I" thing in my own childhood, I could really feel for Nate (though I think he figured it out waaay earlier in life than I did). So nice to see a book for young readers that just puts the whole gay thing out there, matter of fact, without treating it like it's (a) plutonium that will blow up in your face if handled wrong; (b) teh debbil!, or (c)like, totally awesome and so much fun and OMG you're gonna love it! But The Gay Thing is only a small part of what's going on in this book. I love how Nate is finally proud of himself for something he did. Screw the lame-ass parents, making excuses for his bullies; screw his older brother, afraid to even be associated with him. Screw 'em all - because Nate is awesome, and now he knows it, and so does everybody else! Who cares if he's got zits? (Name me one kid who never had to deal with that.) Who cares if he's not Hollywood-ideal thin? (We all need to get over the whole "thin is in" thing.) Who cares if he likes boys? (Well, actually, I do. I love that the star of the book is a boy who crushes on boys.) If I had one complaint about this book, is that there is a paucity of Freckles.
At ALA, this was the one ARC I super wanted to get for myself, because I loved Better Nate Than Ever so much. Anyway I just read this all in one lazy afternoon sitting and it was perfect basically. OK perfect for people who are obsessed with Broadway musicals. Like, theater people love watching the Tonys because it's the one time a year there are nationally televised inside jokes that we get. Well, Tim Federle's books are like nationally published inside jokes for theater people.
I'm honestly interested to read reviews written by people who aren't obsessed with Broadway? Like is it funny on another level? I can't access that planet.
Also, it was super sweet and charming, with enough drama to feel realistic and like, have a plot.
Also, a tween exploration of sexuality that seems realistic and not cliche. Hooray!!
I'm again stating for the record that at 14, I wish I had been as mature as Nate is as well as brave. He is just so likable. All you want to do is sit on the sidelines and cheer for him while he does everything. With most sequels you get the same flavor but maybe a little weaker but that was not the case with this book. Tim Federle is such a great writer (as well as narrator) and the adventures our Nate get into in this installment are just as entertaining as Better Nate Than Ever. We see him forge more friendships, get slightly more comfortable in his own skin, and basically be the Nate he was never able to be back in his hometown. You can't help but feel good and smile when Nate accomplishes what he wants to do.
I enjoyed this sequel even more than its predecessor BETTER NATE THAN EVER. In fact, I devoured it in two sittings. Although it is technically a book for young readers, it will delight theatre nerds of all ages!
I love this book. Or I loved the proof I read of this book. Pretty sure the finished book will only be better. I know I'm giving it five stars and putting it in advocacy which normally would mean I meant four stars plus a bonus to try and influence people to read it but this is five stars without a bonus, can't figure out how to give it six stars, maybe I have to take a star away from another book wait that's not how it works maybe I have to take a star away from every other book ever...
loved this book. Seriously.
Even the title Five, Six, Seven, Nate (#567Nate) is great. It's a sequel to Better Nate Than Ever, but I am confident that readers don't need to read the first book to jump in to this book. This great book that is causing me to bloom with cheap superlatives like a easy spread of smooth peanut butter.
#567Nate has our protagonist, Nate Foster, theatre kid extraordinaire, joining the cast as ... background alien number 7. The show is ET, the director has never worked on Broadway before and the show opens in four weeks.
I feel like I should mention the writing. Because award winning author Tim Federle nearly killed me with some of the humor in this book. And he managed to hide the ending from me somehow. Oh my stars. All five of them.
This is the kind of book that you start reading on the commute home and accidentally skip dinner to finish in one sitting. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything.
Tim Federle knows exactly when to be funny (and God, is he ever), when to be poignant, and most impressively, when to convey body-quaking sit-up-straighter excitement. I'm living proof that you don't have to be a theater nut to get sucked into Nate's (and Federle's) magnetic passion for their art. I've never seen giddy enthusiasm tempered with stabs of nervousness so brilliantly put to page.
Mix in an Early Era Tarantino-level sense of what portions to show and, more importantly, what portions to let the reader imagine (first seen in the magnificent ending to Better Nate Than Ever) and an ensemble that expands from its predecessor without losing the knack for character Federle shows for kids and adults alike (we love you, Aunt Heidi!) and you've got whatever the exact opposite of a sophomore slump is. I can't wait for this to be released so I can use my Working At A Bookstore Powers to get it on as many home shelves as humanly possible.
I honestly think I loved this book more than the first one in this series. "Five, Six, Seven, Nate!" begins a short while after the events of "Better Nate than Ever." Nate did get the job in the ensemble of "ET: The Musical," and is moving to New York with his Aunt Heidi to work on the show. In New York, Nate realizes that working on a legitimate musical is a lot harder than he dreamed it would be and struggles with this a little, but he works through it and actually ends up more successful than he thought he would ever be. This book also touches on subjects like romantic relationships and sexuality, but is handled in a delicate, adorable manner that makes it more digestible for the 9-12 year olds that this book is intended for. I know that other reviews make note of a certain scene towards the end of the book in a negative light, but I thought it was appropriate and adorable for this age group. Besides, those who thought that scene was inappropriate, if the characters in the scene were to be replaced with say, Nate and Libby, rather than Nate and *spoiler*, they would think it was darling. Overall, "Five, Six, Seven, Nate!" was a fantastic book.
I decided to re-read the sequel to one of my all-time favourite books ("Better Nate Than Ever") just because I had re-read the original last year and wanted something light and fun to read while on the plane. Alas, I realized this book is way too enjoyable for a plane ride in which I hoped to be unconscious, so I had to force myself to stop reading. Picked it up again in the new year and I quickly relished re-reading this book again. Continuing where the first book left off, this is also just as fun a read. I laughed, I cried, I laughed again. I still maintain that I wish 10-year old me had these books in his collection, but I'm glad 36 year old me is able to enjoy them with as much gusto.
If you haven't read this book or the previous one ("Better Nate Than Ever") do yourself a favour and that add these to your collection. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
I wasn't disappointed by this sequel to "Better Nate Than Ever." There are a few complaints I could lodge. There is not a convincing build up to a connection between two characters (I will not spoil), but it's still a great connection. And, um, what ever happened to Freckles? Did I miss something? Wasn't he Nathan's aunt's roommate in the first book?
All in all it was sweet and entertaining, a nice mash up of slapstick mistakes and heart-warming come-backs. And I really enjoyed the friendship between Nate and Ansella (another ET understudy with a lot of theater and life experience). Good to have such a lighthearted (though not without its serious moments) and theater-adventurous YA book for LGBT youth.
This was just so so fun! Nate is navigating Broadway with his debut role as alien #7 in E.T.: The Musical. The humor is hilarious and witty and the inside jokes about theater and musicals will definitely hit with a bang. Enjoyable, funny middle grade! I also absolutely love that Nate is allowed to be a gay character who has a three dimensional personality and problems to solve outside of his sexuality.
Rating note - There was one mention about a “male porno magazine” being found in a locker. It made sense in the scene, but I really wish it had been worded as “pictures of shirtless men” or something more tame because I don’t feel comfortable putting this in my class library even if it was only briefly mentioned once.
Favorite line in the audiobook: "God, it's amazing watching a real actress use a prop." - when Nate watches his aunt take a sip from an empty thermos to cover up her discomfort with a guy hitting on her.
Nate the great was great on Broadway! He has a good heart and is very naive and simple. His values and honesty is refreshing. His compassion and enthusiasm is infective. Nate is on his way to fulfilling his dream of fitting in society.
Any theatre kid needs to read this! I think it's awesome that Tim Federle has written such a great character as Nate. For anyone who has ever dealt with stage moms, bad directors, new directors, child stars, washed-up celebrities, unsung heroes, the overworked backstage crew, show development, flops, loves a witty sense of humor and many musical theatre references (used to cover up swear words), this is a fun piece. The thing I like about it is that it does take a VERY honest approach to kids working in the world of theatre. True, the dramatics of it are played up a bit, but all of the same issues still exist.
The other great thing is how well each of Mr. Federle's characters are developed. The supporting "cast" around Nate are just as full of life and creates images of this colorful cast of characters, all of which, everyone can find a piece of themselves in.
Finally, what I really love is that Mr. Federle has created a book for not only young people (middle school-age kids) who may be in a similar situation to Nate, but this book is listed as a juvenile fiction. You will understand why I'm impressed by this, if you read this book. :) Check it out!
Oh, I really enjoyed this! This book is just as hyper-kinetic as the first, but author Tim Federle takes more time to develop the relationships between Nate and his new Broadway co-stars - especially the acerbic Asella and nervy lead Jordan.
That leads to a richer, weightier book, in which Nate learns to be more confident in himself and his talents (a combination lying at the intersection of an inability to dance and a photographic memory). But it also helps us understand those around him better - I wish Aunt Heidi hadn't faded into the background but I guess that's to be expected with Nate spending all his time at the theatre.
The book's final act is just absolutely lovely, and I'm glad a story like this exists for boys like Nate. 🌈
A beautiful sequel. We all enjoyed it and I often think sequels don't live up to their predecessors. I loved the reality of dysfunctional parents with no resolution. Often this is the case in real life and I appreciate Federle not tying this part of story up with a bow. Also grateful for Isela, Aunt Heidi and the loving adults in Nate's life. A wonderful and awkward first kiss scene. Cheering for Nate has been so much fun. Tim Federle is a great narrator, besides being a wonderful writer. A must read!
Nate Foster, 13, is back and now, he's in a Broadway show. As you may or may not remember, in Better Nate Than Ever, Nate from Jankburg PA took a Greyhound bus to New York City one night, unbeknownst to his parents, and auditioned for a part in E.T., the Musical. Well, everything that could go wrong did go wrong but in the end Nate manages to land himself an small part playing Alien #7, but he's also the understudy for the part of ET. Now, he's living in Queens with his Aunt Heidi and the two are commuting on the #7 subway to rehearsals everyday.
When Five, Six, Seven, Nate! begins, it is only 5 weeks to the first preview of E.T., the Musical. Right off the bat, on the first day of rehearsals, Nate realizes he is not quite the polished, professionally trained actor his fellow cast-mates are and it doesn't help that the director, a former video game director, keeps calling him Jake.
Or that his hometown rival, Jordan Rylance who plays Elliot, snarkily grunts at him…And this is also when Nate discovers that he is actually the understudy's understudy for the role of E.T.
Not only that, but as rehearsals get underway, it also becomes clear that some of the complicated dance moves are a little much for short, somewhat pudgy Nate, who must now come in ever earlier for extra sessions with the play's choreographer.
But as rehersals continue, and the part of Alien #7 is cut more and more, Nate begins makes friends with most of the other kids, even going to lunch with them (something that never happened back home). Then, he overhears a conversation from a bathroom stall that begins to put a crack in the perfect picture Nate had always imagined was Jordan Rylance's life. But, soon Nate even discovers he has a secret admirer who keeps leaving little things for him, and who he decides is Genna, the girl playing Gertie. Let's just say, Nate is in for a big surprise here.
But his best on-set friend ends up being Ascella, a very short, very outspoken older woman with whom Nate shares mani/pedis in return for reading lines with her, which results in Nate pretty much memorizing the entire play.
But, throughout rehearsals, with all kinds of problems cropping up, the Broadway buzz is that E.T, the Musical is in jeopardy of never happening. Will circumstances beyond Nate's control bring his dream to a crashing end?
Meanwhile, his best-back-in-Jankburg friend and coach Libby is still taking care of her mother, who has been battling cancer for quite a while. Now, with Nate in NYC involved in their shared dream of a Broadway show, Libby seems to be drifting away from Nate. Could that really be possible, after all they've been through together?
I loved Better Nate Than Ever! and was really looking forward to the sequel. And Five, Six, Seven, Nate! doesn't disappoint. Nate is still the same somewhat clumsy, insecure, witty kid he was in the first novel. He is even still substituting Broadway flops for curse words, though not as much as in the first book.
If Better Nate Than Ever! and Five, Six, Seven, Nate! were real Broadway shows, I would give Tim Federle a standing ovation. First, I love going to the theater, but really don't know much about the behind the scenes life of a play. The casting, the rehearsal, the artistic clashes, the EGOS, none of that is seen onstage, so Federle has given his readers a little inside look at how things happen. Sure, there are exaggerations for the sake of humor/drama, but, I am told, he isn't too far off the mark.
Second, Federle gives us a less than perfect protagonist, someone that readers, even if they couldn't care less about the theater, can identify with and root for. Nate is short, a little overweight, not a professionally trained child actor, a theater geek who was bullied for it in Jankburg, but a loyal friend who finds a sort of home on Broadway and begins to come into his own.
But the two things that are addressed somewhat in both Nate novels are the parents lack of interest in their son and Nate's sexual identity. Nate's parents just are not there for him. When he calls his mom's flower shop to send flowers to Libby, his father makes him pay for them out of his first paycheck. And, as Nate points out, his father may never miss one of his brother's sporting events, but neither of Nate's parents are there for opening night. Sadly, I remember from my classroom teaching days that there are kids with parents who are just as disinterested or too busy with other things to be involved in the lives of their children.
In Better Nate Than Ever!, Federle introduced Nate beginning to think about his sexuality. The implication is the Nate is probably gay. Nate's sexuality is explored more in this novel, but it is done very very much the way things are at 13 - more crushy than anything. Kids who are thinking they may be gay will relate to some of what happens, kids who are thinking they are straight, will surprisingly find they can also relate to some of it. In other words, a crush is a crush and Federle handles it beautifully.
This book is recommended for readers age 10+ This book was a review copy from the publisher
A fun sequel to Better Nate Than Ever, following 13-year-old Nate Foster as he starts work as part of the ensemble of a new Broadway musical of ET. Written for young adults, the story captures the thrills of a theatre-obsessed teenager finding himself involved in the backstage dramas and politics of rehearsals, previews, publicity and opening night.