Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult, YA
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.
I received a copy of this book for review, this does not influence my thoughts on the book or this review.
I loved Tim Federle’s MG series, Better Nate Than Ever, and when I heard he was releasing a YA debut, I knew I had to read it. The Great American Whatever was exactly what I was looking for; funny, heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful, I do not hesitate to recommend this awesome book.
The Great American Whatever stars Quinn, a budding screenplay writer who’s mourning the death of his older sister. When summer arrives and Quinn is still in his depressive funk, his best friend Geoff arrives and forces him to leave the house. This soon turns into Quinn’s first college party and a meet-cute with an adorable guy.
While The Great American Whatever sounds like an adorable romance, it is also so much more. Ultimately, the novel focuses on Quinn’s journey of recovery, and him facing who his sister really was. Quinn also has to think about his future, and who he is. In the most traditional sense, it is a coming of age novel.
The plot is very fast-paced and moves quickly. I loved all the movie references (albeit not knowing some of them, I’m sorry I’m the worst) and the writing was just hilarious. The Great American Whatever is both simulteanously serious and entertaining, it’s amazing.
In terms of diversity, this novel was pretty great. The love interest, Amir, is Iranian-American. This isn’t explored as much as I would have liked but it’s definitely a first for me. Not to mention that the main character is gay and so is Amir. There was also some depiction of therapy which I thought was pretty important.
Overall, The Great American Whatever is an amazing YA debut that I highly recommend for those looking for a fast-paced entertaining read.