Academic journal article English Journal

Better Nate Than Ever

Academic journal article English Journal

Better Nate Than Ever

Article excerpt

Better Nate Than Ever Tim Federle. New York: Simon, 2013. 273 pages. $16.99. Grades 6 to 9. ISBN 978-1-4424-4689-2 (hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4424-4690-8 (eBook). YALSA Top Ten, Odyssey Honor, and Stonewall Honor.

Better Nate Than Ever is an autobiographical, coming-of-age novel, told as a comedy of manners by twelve-year-old Nate, who leaves Jankburg, Pennsylvania, on a Greyhound bus to answer an open-casting call for the part of Elliott in the Broadway musical of E.T. He has some clean underwear, along with a mysterious manila envelope, a dead Nokia cell phone, and two dozen Entenmann's donuts stuffed into his book bag. He plans to return the next day to grand accolades because of having gotten the part, but alas, things get complicated.

He manages to get himself to the Ripley- Grier Building in New York City, where he is asked to fill out a sheet and have his mom, his dad, or a guardian sign it if he is under 18. When he puts his age as 21 because he has borrowed his brother's ID, and his brother is 21, he recognizes this as a pretty big lie, and so does the casting assistant who asks if he might have gotten the numbers reversed, "Didn't you mean to put twelve for your age?" (68). She later adds that unless Nate has an adult to vouch for him, the audition is over.

This is when the "deus ex machina" part of the story comes into play. …

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