The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle


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. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before the car accident that changed everything.

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—okay, a hot guy—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually end happily—if, that is, he can finally step into the starring role of his own life story.

I really enjoyed this. It has the emotional punch of At the Edge of the Universe with the relatability of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It's not a lighthearted tale, but it has kernels of humor that will have you laughing out loud. It's a book that I know I will read again someday, which is high praise for me, because I rarely reread anything. There were a couple pacing issues, but in general, it's so good.

Quinn was a relatable, snarky character, and the portrayal of his grief felt honest and real. He was without a doubt the best part of this novel; but all the characters were fantastic. I personally related to Quinn because I, too, often get annoyed or angry when people start crying near me. I also loved Amir, because I both hated and liked him. I like that he wasn't the love interest that you were expecting. He was kind of jerk who liked Quinn, but was also using him. I don't know if I've seen a legitimate love interest like that ever.

If you are expecting a cute romance like the plot suggests it might be, you will be disappointed. This is about a character growing up and moving on after the death of his sister; finding out what it means to live without her and to be himself, alone. I highly recommend it.

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