Monday, February 17, 2014

Better Nate Than Ever (Tim Federle)


I read a lot of J books hoping to find great books to recommend to my students.

While I enjoyed this book, I won't be recommending it to students anytime soon. I actually turned to the spine of the book a couple times when I was reading to double check that it was a J book. It is. I am not entirely sure that is the intended audience.

The main character, Nick, is sharp-witted. However, I didn't really find it a laugh a minute. Instead I found myself sometimes skimming over sentences because I couldn't take it anymore - kind of like how sometimes I tune out someone who is always trying to crack jokes. It just gets old. However, in short spurts, I think it would be okay. I read this book in one sitting - too much corny humour for one stretch, I guess.

This book might work in middle school, as long as I was sure parents wouldn't get upset about reading/discussing LGBT issues, running away, addiction, and family fights. All the off handed slang references to faggots are also not really something I would want to seemingly condone by reading it in school. Then again, maybe that is how middle school kids talk.

I would totally read this with my own kid - I just wouldn't open myself to the inevitable criticism if I read it with or to a class of someone else's kids.

This book truly is funny. I did enjoy the references to broadway musicals, and I love reading about kids chasing their dreams. However, I am not sure all that is enough to out weigh the cons of this book.

One thing I wondered about was his use of parenthesis. Some pages were full of them! Odd!

......but just because I'm curious, I think I will read the next one.

Update: I tried reading the second book (Five, Six, Seven, Nate!). Knowing it won't fit for my students, I just couldn't get into it. Maybe one day, if I move to middle school though, this might become one to read.

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