Six months ago, Quinn Roberts had big plans: Inspired by the Coens and the Wachowskis, he was writing screenplays that his older sister helped to direct. But after his sister dies in a car accident, Quinn and his mom are mired in grief; she eats her feelings while he sleeps through his. When Quinn’s friend Geoff drags him to a college party and he meets a hot, older guy, things begin to shift. The Great American Whatever finds humor in life’s darkest moments.
Teenage Quinn is a delight, observant to a fault in service to his art and often hilarious. People from Quinn’s past resurface and are not what he remembers them to be, and his relationship with his best friend contains a whopping secret that nearly destroys it—yet both things help him to work through his sadness. (The hot guy doesn’t hurt, either.)
Author Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Ever) has a fantastic ear for the in-jokes that develop between friends. His YA debut is a genuinely great American novel, with a love of cinema worn on its sleeve.