The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Release Date: March 29th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT
From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever comes a laugh-out-loud sad YA debut that’s a wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories—one unscripted moment at a time.
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 Annabeth was killed in a car accident.
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—a hot one—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.
2016, we are off to a very good start.
Sometimes spontaneity can be good. I was bored one late afternoon and decided to get some reading done before you know, school cometh and interrupteth. So I was randomly scrolling through my Kindle and clicked on this particular title. And then I read and I read and I read. Spontaneity is definitely good.
The Great American Whatever features probably one of my all-time favourite narrators/voices in YA to date. Quinn Roberts is witty, sassy, charismatic, and real AF.
So far mine’s a fairly standard coming-of-age LGBT genre film, with a somewhat macabre horror twist. But if it stars veering toward romantic comedy, somebody just murder me.
Quinn is also an aspiring screenwriter – another aspect I liked about his character (I WANT TO BE LIKE HIM OK) – who casually wrote scripts and casually translated them into film form with her sister, Annabeth – that is before she died in an accident, no spoiler there. It was refreshing to read about a brother-sister relationship that was this tight. Whenever Quinn would recount his summer filming adventures with her big sister, it felt so natural and authentic.
The beginning of this novel was quite darkish for me as Quinn is still trying to recover from her sister’s tragic passing. But as we are introduced to the side characters, it quickly became one hell of a party. Quinn’s best friend, Geoff, was fabulous. I liked how he’s sort of jaded and not act like some rich kid (which he is btw) who sees Quinn as a charity case. It made their duo click.
There is a romance in here but don’t expect it to be front and centre all the time. It was cute. And sweet. And nice.
So this is technically my first read/review of 2016, and surprise surprise – this book is also my first 5 star read of 2016. I wasn’t expecting to give it away so soon. I was initially going to give this just a hefty 4 stars, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about this book and how Tim Federle just knocked this one right out of the park. Tim, if you’re reading this right now, I hope you write more YA in the future.
And you right there reading this, you better put this book in whatever 2016 TBR list you have.