The Great American Whatever 


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 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.


Eliana’s Opinion:

3 Stars

This novel takes place over the span of one week and as such is a whirlwind coming-of-age story which centres around tragedy and film making. I was prepared to read this novel and let it remain a blimp on my radar. I expected something fun, lighthearted and fast paced. And this book delivered on all those fronts, however it was also awkward and honest.

Quinn was by no means a perfect character. In fact he was sometimes overwhelmingly selfish and careless with the other people in his life, however, I think that increased my compassion for him. Quinn was struggling with the death of his sister and his practically comatose mother. No one could handle such difficult circumstances gracefully and Quinn’s absentminded dismissal of others bordered on insensitive. So while we as readers could see the underlying turmoil, Quinn was often unaware of it.

Geoff, Quinn’s fun loving and loyal best friend, was an integral part of making Quinn feel like a human being again. He made an effort to push Quinn out of his comfort zone while trying to give him space to grieve. This complicated process was hindered by the secrets Geoff kept and their inevitable reveal. Despite this, Geoff is a steady and much needed presence in Quinn’s life.

The romance, or at least the developing relationship between Quinn and Amir was probably the most realistic depiction of a relationship I’ve ever read in fiction. They knew very little about each other and proceeded to engage in a summer fling with no future. Their interactions were awkward and stilted, possessing none of the romanticized philosophical exchanges that inhabit John Green novels. Their whole relationship was basically a jumbled mess which included quite a few cringe worthy moments. However, instead of being dry I found it endearing.

The unexpected addition of Quinn’s childhood crush and idol allows Quinn to realize that certain things need to be put in the past and growing up, is in fact, absolutely no fun. I really enjoyed coming to these conclusions with Quinn.


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