Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 18, 2013

Better Nate Than Ever

Well, it has been a while since we have heard from Milly. I think she must have practiced some of those humor exercises I posted the other week. She is having a little bit of fun at my expense, but Milly is a dear lady and I know she would love me to share what she wrote. I have not read Better Nate Than Ever, but it sounds like a good book and it has gotten a lot of good reviews? Have any of you read it?

Here’s Milly:

This Article is Better Nate than Ever, Dears

By Mildred Honeydew

Yoo Hoo!  Hello Everybody, Hello!

It’s your dear friend Milly Honeydew, pinch hitting to give our favorite children’s book blogger, Kathy, a well-deserved day off.

Now I know what you’re thinking…Milly, where have you been all summer and what do you plan to cover in this lovely guest column?  Well, I’ve been to the New Jersey SCBWI conference (big kudos to our very own RA Lisa Hernandez on such a fine job—but why does everyone spell her name wrong?) the Kiwi SCBWI Conference (New Zealand, a tad chilly, it turned out, this time of year, which made staying at a nudist hotel challenging), the Los Angeles, London and Tokyo (long flight, don’t talk to me about buns or bunions—both are still throbbing) gatherings. In short, I’ve become a Conference Whore and I’m proud of it.

Which brings me to Kathy’s assignment: I was to interview an agent named Stephen Barber at the New Jersey conference.  “Oh,” and Kathy added, “make sure you ask him about my submission, Postal Girl.”

“I definitely will,” I promised.  Who doesn’t like a girl-goes-postal picture book?

But I couldn’t find any barber at the conference and come to think of it, there were a lot of people who could have used one.  So I didn’t write the column, “Postal Girl Gets Returned to Sender” (rejected by the agent, alas, poor Kathy), and I landed on Kathy’s naughty list.  I would have forgotten about the whole sordid affair had Kathy not just called me and asked for the column…and here I quote…better late than never.

Better Nate Than Ever            And that’s when it hit me, what Kathy meant was Better Nate than Ever, as in the MG novel gaining lots of Broadway attention from first time children’s author Tim Federle.  Now I would never dream of sneaking a book review into Kathy’s blog while she is out drinking margaritas pool side without me; we all know our fearless blogger doesn’t allow reviews because she doesn’t want to get flooded with fifty thousand self-published manuscripts (or even one).  Kathy is too nice to hurt anyone’s feelings, but rest assured, I’m not.

So, why care about Better Nate Than Ever and how will it help me make up for Postal Girl going kerplunkal?  Ladies, do yourself a favor and Google author Tim Federle’s photo.  My, my, bright blue eyes, blinding white teeth, Broadway smile (the type that might even get him cast as the Seagull in The Little Mermaid—I’m not making this up, check out his website), did I mention blinding white teeth to die for?

The story in a nutshell: all his entire life (13 years of it), Nate has wanted to star in a Broadway show, but he has the bad fortune to be born and raised in Jankburg, PA, which is a little to the left of Pittsburgh and not in a good way.  He’s a little bit “Undecided,” wink, wink, if you get his drift, but an awful lot “Gay” if you get mine.  With the help of his best friend Libby, the tighty whites sniffer (read the book), he escapes to Manhattan hot in pursuit of his Great White Way Dream, to try out for ET, the musical.  What better Elliott than he?

Give the nice young author in the nicely starched blue shirt credit, that’s a pretty engaging plot if I do say so myself (and I do).

Along the way we have drama, plugs for Duane Reade, mother who’s an alcoholic, aunt who’s a failed actress, dad who’s an egg hole (say it quickly three times without blushing), bullies, producers, the tighty whitey sniffer, an actual audition and a lot of lovely adventure, all wrapped nicely in a middle grade package with a mediocre cover.  Oh, Dance of the Vampires (with its legendary opening song, Garlic)!, he even curses in legendary Broadway flops.  Oh, Carrie!  Oh, Saravah!  Oh Postal Girl (oops)!  You’ve got to love Nate.

Allow me to imbibe a quick margarita before Kathy kills me.  Oh, hi Kathy!  The proverbial hook is headed my way.

So, quickly, what are the minuses?  Tim the Yummy makes some first time author mistakes.  He has a great middle grade voice, but occasionally comes across a smidgeon adult.  His story opens with too much going on and a lot of name dropping (I’m not saying this is true with Postal Girl Kathy dear, but then again I’m not saying it’s not).  Fortunately, he manages to focus on Nate about a third of the way in.  And the ending is a little bit of a major copout, in favor of the sequel, coming out in 2014.  Forgive me for saying so Tim, but it’s the Toothy Truthy, cross my heart.

Listen up, everyone!  I love the story because of Nate and you will too.  His voice is laced with middle grade humor, his insights about tween life ring true—even for a tween from Junkburp, I mean Jankburg.  He has a dream (just like Kathy) and knows how to plow down chips and salsa like no other (come to think of it, just like Kathy).  How can you not help but cheer a boy who wants to Flee Home so he could Phone Home (I can just imagine the opening number, “Collect Call From E.T, Will Accept Charges”—you’ve got to admit, at least it’s better than “Garlic”) to star on Broadway?   Ahh, if all our postal dreams could come true!

And that’s my review of Postal Girl—err Gone With the Wind (flopped twice on Broadway—see, I know my shows)!—I mean Better Nate than Ever.  Chin up, Kathy!  There’s nothing better for the next rewrite than another round of margaritas!  Don’t forget to invite me, hint, hint.

tim federlinTim Federle grew up in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before moving to New York to dance on Broadway. His debut novel, BETTER NATE THAN EVER — described as “Judy Blume as seen through a Stephen Sondheim lens” by Huffington Post — was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD: COCKTAILS WITH A LITERARY TWIST, Tim’s novelty recipe guide, was called “pun-tastic” by Epicurious and “a joy” by the London Evening Standard.

Say hi at: and on Twitter @TimFederle

Milly is right he does have a wonderful smile.

Thanks MIlly – I think.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Oh, this was hilarious! lol I REALLY enjoyed reading this, and when Milly first mentioned that everyone spelled “Lisa’s” name wrong, I was going to politely correct her if Kathy didn’t–until…I realized she was kidding 🙂

    And just so you know—I LOVED the idea that the opening song was “Garlic!” How PERFECT! Thanks, gals 😀


  2. Thanks for the laughs. Very cute post. The book looks great.


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