A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Strong messages about authenticity and treating yourself with love, kindness, respect. Lousy things happen and you can't control many things going on in your life, but you can learn, grow, move on. Hard times aren't forever -- things get better. Sometimes you need to close the door on broken relationships, painful chapters so you can greet your future. When people who feel like misfits come together, they create space where they fit just fine. Your most interesting story is your truest one.
Positive Role Models
Nate, who knows what it's like to feel like an outsider, welcomes everyone to participate in his musical. He appreciates being surprised by others and discovering their charms, talents; he's a good teacher. Libby is frank, honest, holds Nate accountable, encourages his best attributes. Nate's parents can be distant, somewhat aloof, but connect with their son in meaningful ways. Other adults at school -- notably a PE coach and a teacher -- encourage Nate in unexpected ways.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mentions of boys kissing. Main character wishes for modest physical affection and has regrets about his first kiss.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Some crude language: "boob," "f-g," "butt." Two friends use the names of failed musicals as stand-ins for curse words.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Abundant mentions of digital media and devices (YouTube, FaceTime, Netflix, iPhone, Instagram, HBO Go, Hulu, Wikipedia), snack foods (Popsicle, Gatorade, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, Snickers, Funyuns, Starburst, Capri Sun, Sunny D, Rice Krispies), retail and food chains (Wendy's, Domino's, Michael's, Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Ikea, American Eagle), TV shows and movies (Star Trek, Titanic, The Bachelor), cars (BMW, Kia, Porsche), and a few other branded products.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.