From the award-winning author of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever comes “a Holden Caulfield for a new generation” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before the car accident that changed everything.
Enter: Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—okay, a hot guy—and falls, hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Not even the Grinch could resist the charms of Quinn Roberts, the movie-obsessed teen protagonist of Tim Federle’s The Great American Whatever. Federle—who previously wrote the infectious kids’ book Better Nate Than Ever, about a boy who runs away from home to audition for a Broadway show—has a fantastic sense of humor. Even when he’s coloring in the lines of Quinn’s heart-wrenching backstory (a dead older sister, a feckless dad, and a depressed and overweight mother), he does so with sass and style. We zipped through this novel, rooting for Quinn to come out of his shell and hoping for a happy ending with his college-boy crush, Amir.
Annabeth and Quinn were sibling filmmakers she the director, he the screenwriter and Quinn, 16, dreamed that they would become famous collaborators like the Wachowskis, Ephrons, or Coens. Then Annabeth died on an icy road. Six months later, Quinn's mother is still grief-stricken, and Quinn has holed up in his bedroom. Into this stasis arrives best friend Geoff, who prods him to take a needed shower and get out of the house. Quinn tells part of his rebound story in screenplay form, but the key plot element is his flirtation with Amir, a college guy he meets at a party: the possibility of love (and sex and romance) makes him realize that there's still a future to look forward to. Federle's first venture into YA shares the same wry sensibility and theatrical underpinnings of his middle-grade books, while freeing him up to make some edgier jokes (" A little less tongue,' he slurs, which was precisely the note I was going to give him"). The mix of vulnerability, effervescence, and quick wit in Quinn's narration will instantly endear him to readers. Ages 14 up.