Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

I love Nate! I have two fabulous grown up sons, but if I were to have another, I would want him to be Nate.

Who is Nate you might ask? We were introduced to him in Better Nate than Ever.

Federle continues his semi autobiographical log of Nate's life in New York, where he is rehearsing for ET: The Musical. Nate is the second understudy for ET. In contrast to Federle, Nate has many gifts, but dancing isn't one of them.

In this book readers get a look at what goes on behind the scenes in a Broadway Musical. There is more of the 'parent of child star' craziness. It is stressful and tense at times, but Federle reveals the same sweetness in this one as he did before.

One of the things I loved about this book is the revelation that people are not what they may seem on the outside. It is ultimately about acceptance - acceptance of oneself and of others for who we are.  In the last book, Nate wasn't really sure of his sexuality, but in this one he seems to be coming into his own and maybe even having his first relationship.

I love, love, love all the characters.

Libby is Nate's best friend. "Nothing gets by Libby. She's like Nancy Drew on Ritalin." While she is Nate's first and foremost supporter, she is also dealing with her mother's cancer. 

I adore Asella, the first understudy for ET. Asella enlists Nate to help her with her lines and becomes part mentor, part mother, and part friend. Her words to Nate, "Just keep being you, kid. Whoever he becomes. Just . . . Nate" is the advice every child of every age should hear.

Unfortunately Nate's immediate family are not supportive. They like that he brings cash into the family coffers, but at the same time, don't accept him for who is is. His Aunt Heidi on the other hand, is a pretty impressive guardian. In Nate's words, "Behind every good man is, like, an aunt."

While this book is full of humour and even a bit of melodrama, there are many truly poignant moments. I got weepy a few times.  In my mind, this is one of the markers of an excellent read.

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