Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Most Excellent Year

First off, let me say that I loved every single word, phrase, character, page, scene, entry and chapter in this book, and because of that, my review does no sort of justice. I laughed out loud even when I was reading next to a sleeping spouse, or worse, holding a sleeping baby. I giggled uncontrollably in front of my inlaws at passages I couldn't begin to explain. I put the book down for almost a week because Ted Kennedy passed away in real life while I was reading about it, and I was so enthralled with these characters who were obsessed with the Kennedys that I was too sad to keep reading. One of the most thoughtful readers advisors I know (Michelle) recommended this book to me, telling me "It definitely had Lissa written all over it." and she was soooooo right.

My Most Excellent Year: a novel of love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park by Steve Kluger
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…T.C. Keller and Augie Hwong have been “brothers” since they were six years old and met on the playground of their Boston school. They understand each other completely even when they don’t agree. T.C. loves the Red Sox and gets into trouble starting quirky projects with his Pop, but he doesn’t remember much about his mother. T.C. is one of the coolest kids in school, but he doesn’t even realize it. Augie loves his parent’s bookstore and singing show tunes but he might be falling for fellow athlete Andy Wexler. Augie idolizes Broadway divas and is well on his way to becoming a drama queen himself.
Alé Perez is new to school, a stuck-up snob with distinguished political parents. At first, she has no trouble resisting T.C.‘s romantic advances, especially because he asks her out with a form letter. Before long though, T.C. befriends an adorable little boy, which makes him look more sensitive. Augie tricks Alé into auditioning for the school musical. T.C.‘s father is getting called into the school counselor’s office almost as often as Augie is quoting lines from old Bette Davis movies. Alé has found fast friends in Augie and T.C. whether she likes it or not, but if T.C. keeps taking romance advice from his widowed father, his future with Alé is less likely than a post-season Red Sox victory.
The title says it all. As these three juniors reflect back on their freshman year of high school for an English class assignment about “My Most Excellent Year” you won’t be surprised when they come up with something transformative and magical. Some stories get better in the retelling. This narrative is pieced together from journal entries, emails, phone calls, chat logs and letters between T.C., Augie, Alé and their families as they look back and celebrate a year than changed everything.
As an adult, I enjoy reading novels written for teens, because I like to remember my own most excellent growing-up years through these funny and heart-breaking coming of age stories. My Most Excellent Year is one of the best books I have read this year and I highly recommend it.

I checked it out. 403 pages.


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