THIS was a delightful read and there's a boxed set of three in the series that would make a fantastic gift under the tree! I've only read the first one, so far, so that's what this review will focus on, but I'm going to enjoy more of Nate's adventures in the near-future, that's for sure.
You kind of know when you pick up the book you're in for a whirlwind roller coaster of a ride. The whole thing takes place over a weekend and a few more days tacked on...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
It starts with Nate Foster's escape out of his house, with help from his BFF Libby (who we never actually meet, just hear a LOT about), to New York City for a weekend audition for ET, The Extra Terrestrial, the musical.
That's right, he wants to play Elliott, and Libby's boosted his confidence with basement theater lessons (called workshops) and helped him get out the door and to the Big Apple on a bus for his debut audition.
Of course, what can go wrong will -- down to getting soaked and cloaked by a hip-hop clothing salesman right before he's set to go on (as a 1980s clean-cut suburbian Elliott). His aunt, black ewe of the family, arrives to whisk him away before he even gets to audition.
But once he does get his chance, just him, the casting director, the choreographer, an assistant director, a piano player, two Mark casting assistants (one spelled with a c), and the choreographer's assistant, he reads -- from memory -- every part from the script, acting them all out, too.
It's not until he's entirely done that they point out the reader, a girl who was waiting to read the lines between Elliott's on the script, that Nate wasn't supposed to read.
But it earns him a callback, which earns him his Aunt's exasperation and a visit from his panicked and very drunk mother.
I'm not going to spoil the ending, this was just too good! You have to read it and laugh and cry along with Nate. Definitely recommend this one!