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The Great American Whatever

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  6,197 ratings  ·  1,007 reviews
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who i
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Grace No, it stands for Q's sister, she loved ET. …moreNo, it stands for Q's sister, she loved ET. (less)
James (JD) Dittes
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,197 ratings  ·  1,007 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, 2016
My rating has moved between 4 and 2 stars, then halfway back again. There are definitely good things about The Great American Whatever, but I honestly just want to tell you to read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda instead. It has all the warm, funny bits but without the self-masturbatory writing style, overdone loss of a loved one, and tedious film trivia.

As I said, though, this is not really a negative review. I really enjoyed some of the humour, especially in the beginning, mostly because the
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this my favorite book of 2016
Jun 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
remind me not to do that again.

review to come / like 1 star? yikes


going into this blind just because i like the title.

life: i live it on the edge.


reading all books with LGBTQ+ rep for pride this month!

book 1: the gravity of us
book 2: the great american whatever
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I started out loving this book and then I just went back and forth between loving and being a little bit bored. But that's okay, not all books can blow you away.

Some Spoilers

I loved Quinn and I felt so sorry for him in losing his sister and his father left. I felt bad for his mother too. It's like they both just gave up for several months and I can understand that, totally!

Quinn's sweet friend Geoff decides to start dragging Quinn out and then sets him up with his first boyfriend. It was sweet
Larry H
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

"When I'm about to do something that makes me nervous, I imagine how the ideal screenplay version of events would play out. As in: I wish my life were a screenplay that I could write. Because if you leave it all up to fate, who knows how your movie's going to turn out? So far mine's a fairly standard coming-of-age LGBT genre film, with a somewhat macabre horror twist."

The last six months have been quite tough for 16-year-old Quinn Roberts. There was a time when all he rea
Here it is folks: my first great read of 2016. So great in fact, that I think it will still be one of my best reads of the year when the year is actually, you know, over. I laughed (a lot), I blubbered (a lot), and wished a million times that more authors (especially YA authors) wrote with a voice as unique, effortlessly hilarious, and emotionally spot-on as Tim Federle.

Full disclosure: I had a major author-crush on TF the minute I picked up Better Nate Than Ever, which quickly turned into full
Asghar Abbas
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it

I think it's safe to say the rating here is three and a half stars. I feel that is just, more than fair. Don't get me wrong, the novel is great, American, but it is also a whatever; I came off it feeling duped and maybe a little swindled by it. Like some people, books should be refundable too, by that I mean, we should be able to unread them and forget that we ever read them in the first place. I don't regret reading this, I just wished it had more, more to offer, that it was more. And then agai
Peter Monn
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally finished this book! It was really pretty good once I sat down and finished it. Check out my full review on my booktube channel at ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy the works of Shaun David Hutchinson, Andrew Smith & David Arnold!

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars!

I wasn’t quite sure what to think about The Great American Whatever before I started reading it. I had recently read a few other young adult contemporaries and a few of them also dealt with LGBTQ+ themes. It’s not like The Great American Whatever had bad reviews, I had actually heard a lot of fantastic things about it, but for some reason I was a little hesitant to start reading it. Something similar happened to me not too long ago after I read too many psychological thr
Tight, snappy writing with just enough humor and sorrow. Brilliant.
Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds

4.5 stars

This is Tim Federle's first YA book and it's fantastic. Just wanted to mention that right away. I love Tim Federle's books. I've read two so far (still haven't gotten to Five Six Seven Nate, sorry!) and both I loved. And you know what, I'm going to add this author to my author auto-buy list. There. Now let's talk about this book a bit, shall we?

The writing in this book is perfect for me. I just loved Quinn's voice. There was a lot of humor and
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars overall with 4 stars for some parts in the later half of the book and near the end.
*edit: rating changed *

If I took out my broken AC and cracked the window, I’d have to confront the reality that I might hear, like, birds, or worse: the merry squeals of neighborhood children. And who has the stomach for that kind of unannounced joy at this hour?

Quinn and I are on the same page with not being morning people, give me a few hours to connect with the waking world haha.

This one intrigued m
Colby Sharp
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-nerdy, 2016, ya
Man, I loved this book. The characters really jump into your heart.
Lauren Stoolfire
Quinn lost his sister months ago, and now his friend has decided to help him get back out there in the world, work through his grief, and find him his first real boyfriend. The dialogue of The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle feels quite natural, and also very sarcastic. My favorite aspect of this story has to be Quinn's love of classic movies. I also really liked Geoff, Quinn's friend who is trying to help him. This novel also does a good job at making you feel a variety of emotions for o ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it
tim federle gives me heart eyes.

ok i didn't enjoy this as much as i did the first time around, which was around 2 years ago. 2016 i rated 5 stars, 2018 3 stars. i can't give you a solid explanation as to why my rating changed so much, that was many moons and many many books ago, but i can at least explain my rating for this time around.

while federle's character's are charming, i didn't connect to them. i really like quinn and his quick wit, badass sense of humor, and how he's basically a walkin
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen

Quinn Roberts should be Ryan Dean West's (of Winger) best friend. Even though this was my first Tim Federle book and obviously I've never met Quinn before, it was immediately like being reunited with an old friend. He was so funny and perfectly quirky and just the right amount of heartbroken; and rightfully so, after the tragic death of his sister that he believes to be all his fault. There were times that the story moved a little slowly and of course, Quinn could be
So good. It reminded me a lot of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, but slightly more developed? Like that book was funny, but the plot was a bit more interesting. I loved the humour and the characters. ...more
I buddy read this with my teen daughter. She read the hardcover while I listened to the audiobook. We both adored Quinn. He was such a great character. The humor was spot on and we loved it! We will both be checking out more by this author.

My Rating: 5 stars
My Daughter's Rating: 4 stars
Having just read Me & Earl & the Dying Girl so recently probably was a disservice to this book, though I found this book less grating all around than I did Me & Earl & the Girl Who Doesn't Apparently Deserve Having Her Name in the Title.

Like Me & Earl, The Great American Whatever is about a teenage boy living in Pittsburgh who has dreams of making films one day. In this book, 16-year-old Quinn wants to be a screenwriter, and instead of working with his best friend, most of his work is accomplish
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reads-of-2016
Actual rating: 3.5

"That's actually the most confusing part about being alive without knowing the end of your own hero's journey. You never know if it's time to go home or head into battle. You never know if you've already faced your biggest monster."

It seems that every single person who has read this has come to the same conclusion; some parts of this book were interesting and amazing and others just... meh. I debated whether to round this book's rating up to four stars or down to three for
Eva B.
3.5?? But like a generous 3.5. Maybe even a 3.75, but I can't be sure.
This book is hell to review, to be honest. I picked it up because I saw something saying it had the "Holden Caulfield of the modern generation" and if you've heard any of my ramblings on The Catcher in the Rye, you'd know that that's something that will probably make me pick up a book. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you reference my favorite book in the blurb of yours, I'm more inclined to pick it up.
Did it de
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
***Audiobook*** I tend to be very wary of "author read" audiobooks. Just because you can write a book doesn't mean you can narrate it. If you don't believe me, try listening to The Lovely Bones on audiobook. Not good. However, I listened to the sample of this one and found Tim Federle to be a very capable narrator. After listening to the whole book, I can assure you he does a phenomenal job. This is a very charming coming of age story about Quinn, who is grieving the loss of his older sister. My ...more
Melissa Chung
Out of the 11 books that I picked up and started the other day, I decided to continue and finish this book. The Great American Whatever... has a nice ring to it. Quinn our main character had some really awful titles to go with his screenplays and this book title is just so appropriate. I'm giving this book 3.5 stars.

Quinn is described, as the next Holden Caulfield, according to a blurb found on the front cover. I read Catcher in the Rye back in high school so I can't quite remember whether that
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Woah. This was quick and sad and super fucking funny all at the same time. I'm surprised by how much I was engrossed in the story - I couldn't put it down.

Do you like:

- gay protagonists
- funny, REAL teenagers (think SIMON VS)
- screenwriting
- sad but hopeful contemporaries
- really addicting, fast-paced books
- stories that don't completely center around the romance

Read THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER. It's a good book. Not a remarkable or new favorite book, but it is damn good.
Stefani Sloma
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I was initially drawn to this one by the cover and title. I mean, look at it. It’s great! Plus, while I haven’t read the whole thing yet, I’ve heard great things about Federle’s Nate books. I’m glad I checked it out, because while I had some reservations with the story and characters, I enjoyed this book overall.

First of all, it’s hilarious. I think the only way I can really show you this is by just giving you a quote.

If I took out my broken AC and cracked the window, I’d have to confront the re
Robert Kirwan
Eh, 2.5 stars... Lost my attention and really didn't care for this towards the end!! Some scenes were UBER cheesy and then others were just painful to read. Wouldn't read again and wouldn't really recommend it ...more
Angy Potter - Collector of Book Boyfriends
Audiobook Review

If you could sum up The Great American Whatever in three words, what would they be?

Funny, fluffy and liberating!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Quinn’s story was really good. I enjoyed listening to his internal dialogue, his way of seeing movies in everything and most of all, how he discovered his true and better self. I really liked the whole book. What I liked the most was how real and genuine Quinn’s struggles in life were. He lost his sis
I started this one in my now-classic "Oh I Love The Author Let Me Pick Up This Book And Figure Out What It Is About From The First Chapter" method. And then I got scared because it is a grief book. I put it aside for a while.

I have a knotty history with grief books. I couldn't deal with them for a long time, as it seemed to be needless focus on something I never wanted to happen. And then I lost my brother to Cancer, and I started to see the point of books with tragedy in them. Something that bi
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sometimes there are books that I don't have to work to read. Do you know what I mean? There are many times I start a book and don't think that I'll like it. I start and then stop or just put off reading it, but this was totally different. Once I started, I couldn't stop. The voice is just so funny and awesome and it doesn't sound forced, you know? It didn't seem like Quinn was an adult trying to judge teens in a weird way or share life lessons. I actually felt like I was following him on a journ ...more
Bethany Miller
I'm sure I would have enjoyed this book if I had read the print edition, but listening to the audio definitely bumped it from really good to great. As I was listening I kept thinking about how perfect the voice of the reader was for the character, so when I found the author did the audio, it made perfect sense! Tim Federle is a wonderful author and narrator, and I hope he continues to write more YA.

A few things that I loved about this book:

1. It's set in Pittsburgh and the setting feels so authe
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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

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114 likes · 15 comments
“We take everything out to Geoff's car and I'm eating a peach in the front seat and it's dripping everywhere and, you see, this is the problem with fruit. It only seems portable and convenient. Turns out you need a hazmat suit and six towels to eat a peach.” 5 likes
“Can you pick me up on Washington Road in Mount Lebo, actually? I got here and them some kids stole my bike."
"Quinn, your life story is starting to turn into a documentary that people would walk out of because it's both too sad and too slow.”
More quotes…