By Draelyn Turner ’19
The Great American Whatever was written and published by Tim Federle in 2016. Federle has written many children’s books, including Better Nate than Never and Tommy Can’t Stop. Now, he has written a book about a teenage boy who has fallen in love while struggling with tragedy and self-doubt.
The Great American Whatever follows the life of Quinn Roberts as he finally comes to term with the death of his sister Annabeth. Quinn and Annabeth were the best of friends and absolutely inseparable. As children, they would often be found filming for their screenplays and critiquing their acting skills. Typically, Quinn would write the plays and Annabeth would direct and produce the movie. This sibling connection ends one day, as Annabeth was texting her brother while driving, crashed her car, and died instantly.
Quinn was devastated over the death of his sister, and he had little support from their mom, who was already an emotional wreck from her husband leaving her. She had already been antisocial and depressed, and the news of her daughter made it so much worse.
Eventually, Quinn stops going to school, turns off his phone and neglects it completely. He never leaves his house and he talks to no one; it is as if he fell off the face of the earth.
Therefore, it is a huge deal when Quinn finally comes to terms with himself and takes a night out to be a teenager and go to his very first college party. That night, Quinn falls head over heels for a guy named Amir. Quinn is the kind of person who overthinks everything in his life. He now has a new relationship with Amir, and he questions all of his life choices ten times more than he already had.
I would most definitely recommend this book for anyone 14 years old or older. The vocabulary is very strong and there are some parts of the book that may be rather inappropriate for an elementary schooler to read. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Federle was thorough and very detailed in every aspect of this book. It was truly a great read!