Better Nate Than Ever

Better Nate Than Ever

(Part of Nate)
For Ages: 9 - 13
“The Nate series by Tim Federle is a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid. Highly recommended.” –Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and creator of the musical, Hamilton

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Slate Favorite Book of the Year. A small-town boy hops a bus to New York City to crash an audition for E.T.: The Musical.

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. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

Tim Federle’s “hilarious and heartwarming debut novel” (Publishers Weekly) is full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up—because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442446915 | 
  • January 2014 | 
  • Grades 4 - 8 | 
  • Lexile ® 930L
List Price $7.99 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle


About the Book

Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster doesn’t fit in at his Jankburg, Pennsylvania middle school. Instead of being athletic and community-minded like his town-favorite big brother, Anthony, short, chubby Nate is a belting boy soprano who dreams of starring in a Broadway show. With the help of his best friend, Libby, he embarks on a definitely-not-parent-approved journey to New York City to audition for a musical version of the famous movie, E.T. Nate soon learns that getting to the audition is only the beginning of an adventure on which he discovers the true meaning of family, friendship, acceptance, and, most important, how to be his own best self.

Discussion Questions

1. As the novel begins, readers meet Nate and Libby in the Fosters’ backyard. After reading this first chapter, list at least three worries Nate has about his upcoming adventure to New York. Also, list at least three concerns Nate has about how life is going in Jankburg.

2. Nate and Libby use a kind of shorthand in their conversations by referring to Broadway shows and song lyrics. Can you think of any shared experiences that you and your friends or family use to communicate in a special way? Explain your answer.

3. Throughout his stay in New York City, Nate finds himself delighted by the div see more

Behind the Book

Articles About This Book

Off the shelf vertical blog post

Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Sarah Jane Abbott

With the holidays right around the corner, many of us have young people in our lives to buy gifts for. What better gift than a book? If you need fresh suggestions since our last children’s book gift guide, here are even more wonderful books for...

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The Great American Whatever
Five, Six, Seven, Nate!

About the Author

Tim Federle
Photograph © Beowulf Sheeha

Tim Federle

Tim Federle is “a prolific scribe whose breezy wit isn’t bound to a single genre” (Huffington Post). Tim’s award-winning novels include the New York Times Notable Books The Great American Whatever and Better Nate Than Ever—which Lin-Manuel Miranda called “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid” (The New York Times). Tim cowrote both the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Tuck Everlasting and the Fox Animation feature film Ferdinand, starring John Cena and Kate McKinnon. A native of San Francisco who grew up in Pittsburgh, Tim now divides his time between New York and the internet (@TimFederle).

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