THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle
Kirkus Star

THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER

Age Range: 15 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Roberts is officially hiding from the world.

Six months after the death of his beloved sister, Annabeth, Quinn’s house remains preserved as a shrine to the father who walked out on his family voluntarily and the daughter whose exit was anything but. “Without the vision and silent encouragement of [his] sister,” Quinn is ready to renounce his dreams of writing screenplays, yet he cannot help but view the world cinematically. The juxtaposition of Quinn’s scripted version of events with what actually occurs enables readers to experience the flawed goofiness of the real world while enjoying Quinn’s ideal of how it should be. In his first novel for teens, Federle (Better Nate Than Ever, 2013, etc.) crafts a poignant and thoroughly convincing portrait of a teenager who is acerbic and self-deprecating, astute enough to write piercing observations about his own life yet too self-involved to discern obvious truths about those closest to him. Quinn’s supporting cast of characters, both minor and major, are wonderfully flawed and nuanced, from Amir, the college boy upon whom Quinn has a crush, to Mrs. Roberts, who cannot bear to throw away her deceased daughter’s favorite junk food. Quinn’s epiphanies about his sister and himself are distinctively less cinematic than he would like them to be. The journey he takes to arrive at them, however, is hauntingly authentic and consummately page-turning.

A Holden Caulfield for a new generation. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: March 29th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-0409-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015




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