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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nate Expectations is Tim Federle's third and final book about a small-town boy with Broadway dreams. (The trilogy started with Better Nate Than Ever.) Now 14, Nate Foster has to leave New York City and return to a family and community where he feels he doesn't belong. Nate's parents are emotionally distant, and Nate turns to his friend Libby for support. Nate has a secret relationship with another boy -- there's a little talk of kissing but mostly a lot of FaceTime -- but he hasn't come out to his family. As he adjusts to his hometown high school, Nate helps build a supportive community and safe space by treating classmates with kindness and generosity.
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What's the Story?
NATE EXPECTATIONS opens with crushing disappointment for 14-year-old Nate Foster. E.T.: The Musical closes abruptly and puts him out of work. He has to trade his dream life on Broadway for high school in Pennsylvania -- and make do with FaceTime instead of behind-the-scenes kisses with his boyfriend. Nate dreads going home, but he's surprised to find he's admired as a minor celebrity. Even better, he gets to work with his best friend, Libby, turning Great Expectations into a musical for an English project. Nate starts to feel he's finding his place in school. Then his boyfriend ghosts him, and Nate feels stuck in a role that makes him painfully unhappy.
Is It Any Good?
Nate Foster takes his final bow with a flourish in this hugely satisfying end to Tim Federle's sweet and funny trilogy, featuring a musical-loving teen as he's coming out and coming into his own. In Nate Expectations, Nate's grown more confident and self-assured. He's less buffeted by ups and downs, learning that even the bleakest situations aren't forever -- things get better. The shiny optimism may be more hopeful than realistic: The bullies who tormented Nate are pretty much gone, his parents make clear how much they love him, he moves smoothly from one crush to the next. But it's hard to find much fault with such an endearing character, shining especially brightly in the company of his loyal, smart friend Libby. Federle keeps the quips coming a mile a minute and draws on his own career highs and lows -- including a musical Tuck Everlasting -- for a story that theater kids can cherish.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how hard it is for Nate to let go of his crush in Nate Expectations. Have you tried to salvage a failing relationship? Why do you think it's hard to let go?
What does Mr. English mean when he talks about picking your own birthday? What would you choose as your birthday?
What makes Nate successful as a director?
- Author: Tim Federle
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: September 18, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 18
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: October 30, 2020
Our Editors Recommend
Better Nate Than Ever
Terrific tale of misfit taking bold step to remake his life.
Sharp, funny graphic novel captures chaos of theater.
Fast-paced, moving Dickens classic of reversed fortune.
Glorious musical based on Dickens' Oliver Twist.
For kids who love drama and LGBTQ tales
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