21 Sep / Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
For all the challenges he survived in Better Nate than Ever, Nate Foster is now just five weeks from making his Broadway debut. So he’ll be going on as Alien Number Seven in a single-word part, but he’s also the second understudy for the titular E.T. in E.T.: The Musical. Two other actors will have to get really sick for him to take that leading role, but at least he’s getting a Playbill bio, not to mention a real paycheck.
So … the director can’t seem to remember his name. The ensemble routines are so intricate that he needs extra sessions of early morning cardio-aerobics to survive. While those child stars seem to effortlessly find perfect pitch, Nate suddenly finds his voice cracking at the wrong time.
He needs to whinge with his best friend Libby back at home, but she’s got far more serious problems trying to keep her cancer-fighting mother from slipping away. When Nate gallantly tries to send flowers to Libby – his mother runs a floral shop, after all! – his father makes him pay out of his new salary. So much for supportive family.
But back at the office – or rather, backstage – Nate seems to have a secret admirer. And he’s getting to know – whether he particularly wants to or not – his fellow understudy, a multi-decade veteran of the stage, with a personality far larger than her diminutive size.
Will the production pass muster with the already ready-to-snark critics when that curtain rises? Since we’re talking performance, choose aural to find out: who better to voice the colorful cast than author Tim Federle himself? Except for one cringe-inducing sentence – “Miss Saigon is one of my favorite shows, so I actually know quite a bit about the Far East” [here’s why that is such an egregious statement] – that I admit I had to work hard to ignore, Federle’s sequel is just as fun and energetic as his debut, with the added bonus of a sigh-inducing possible first love. Surely all that should bode well for another star turn for Nate! Hope Federle doesn’t keep the audience waiting too long for Act 3!
Readers: Middle Grade