The Great American Whatever
Author: Tim Federle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre/Themes: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Release Date: March 29th 2016
Page Count: 288
Format: ARC (borrowed from Joey!)
I wasn’t quite sure what to think about The Great American Whatever before I started reading it. I had recently read a few other young adult contemporaries and a few of them also dealt with LGBTQ+ themes. It’s not like The Great American Whatever had bad reviews, I had actually heard a lot of fantastic things about it, but for some reason I was a little hesitant to start reading it. Something similar happened to me not too long ago after I read too many psychological thrillers consecutively. They all started to blend together. What could have potentially been a terrific psychological thriller got a low star rating from me, possibly just because I was bored of the genre. I didn’t want this to happen with The Great American Whatever, but I did have it on my #ReadThemAllThon TBR and it was time to take a chance, bite the bullet and jump right in.
The Great American Whatever tells the story of a teenaged boy named Quinn who has just lost his older sister to a terrible car accident. Quinn is struggling to move forward and hasn’t been able to go to school, interact with his best friend Geoff or simply leave his house since it happened. That is until Geoff finally convinces Quinn to go to a college party with him. It’s there that he meets the mysterious and attractive Amir.
The writing style was so fantastic within this novel. It had me laughing and chuckling constantly and I absolutely enjoyed the hell out of reading it. It was so casual and relatable and I just never wanted it to end. The Great American Whatever is definitely one of the best coming of age stories I’ve read in a long time. While it was definitely funny and witty, it also dealt with some heavier topics. We learn about the death of Quinn’s sister and the tragic details that led to her death. The Great American Whatever is full of life lessons that all teens, and even 20-somethings like myself, should definitely read about.
What I loved the most about The Great American Whatever was, even though it definitely did feature a romantic relationship, it also focused on friendship and the bond between Quinn and Geoff. Best friends are just as important as love interests, especially within young adult fiction. It’s amazing to read about the ups and downs between two best friends, sometimes more-so than the ups and downs within a romantic relationship. I absolutely loved reading about the friendship between Quinn and Geoff.
As mentioned, The Great American Whatever is one of the best coming of age stories that I’ve read in a while. I’m so glad that after my initial hesitation, I decided to finally pick it up and give it a read. I’m also extremely eager to read more from Tim Federle because honestly, his writing style is perfection. The Great American Whatever is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Federle grew up in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before moving to New York as a teenager to dance on Broadway. Better Nate Than Ever — Tim’s debut novel about a small-town teenager who crashes an audition for E.T.: The Musical — was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and inspired a sequel that won the Lambda Literary Award. Tim’s brand new YA novel, The Great American Whatever, was called “a Holden Caulfield for a new generation” (Kirkus) and was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.