My Most Excellent Year

A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park
by Steve Kluger
ages: 12+
First sentence: “Since you’d never guess it from looking at me, nobody can tell that words like because, fart, there, and banana come out sounding like “becazz,” “faht,” “they-a,” and “bananer” when I say them out loud.”
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There are many things in my life that make me smile. Like:

Seeing these on the road:

Eating these:

Watching him:

And this book. This book made me unavoidably, undeniably, unabashedly happy.

It’s the simple story of a year in the lives of three high school freshmen: Bostonian and die-hard Red Sox fan (is there any other kind?) T. C. Keller (also known as Tony C and Tick but never, ever Anthony); his brother (in all ways except biology since age six) and diva extraordinaire (can you recite All About Eve word-for-word? I thought not.) Augie Hwong; and newbie Alejandra Perez, daughter of the former ambassador to Mexico and closet singer/dancer (who just doesn’t know how brilliant she is). It’s not like there’s a big crisis or a huge plot arc; this book is full of little things. Little things — like T.C. and Augie being brothers; or the discovery of Hucky, a six year old deaf kid that T.C. befriends; or the talent show and subsequent Kiss Me Kate production; or the three love stories, where there were no burst of passion, no sparkles, no in love at first sight, but instead just honest-to-goodness learning how to love and forgive and compromise. (Yeah, I know, I generally have a problem with lasting high school love, but this was just so darn adorable, that I forgave them the high school part.)

Sure, it’s unrealistic, but I plain didn’t care. I wanted to move in next door to T.C. and Augie and Ale. Shoot, I wanted to be a part of their crazy, wonderful, lovable extended family. (Much like the Cassons; I want to be a part of their family, too.) And I didn’t want this book to end. Which, really, is the best thing I can say.

18 thoughts on “My Most Excellent Year

  1. Totally, Jen. M is insisting that we buy it, so she can read it over and over and over. (I handed it to her on Tuesday, and I think she's already gone through it twice.)

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  2. OK, so not to be Debbie Dismal, but I didn't like it. I'm the only person on earth I know who didn't like it! Maybe I quit to early? Then again, I didn't like Last Days of Summer either so maybe Kluger's stuff just isn't for me.

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  3. You quit, Tricia? Ah-ha! This is definitely one you have to see through to the end. (Though maybe that you aren't really into the author may have something to do with it.) I loved this book like I loved the Casson family books: take me away and adopt me because I want to live in your world!

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  4. If this is as good as chocolate and Gerard Butler then this has to be one heck of a book!

    My never ending TBR pile includes this book. Ever since it was part of Nerds Heart YA I've seen it around the blogosphere in great force. I'm looking forward to reading it. Glad you enjoyed so much,

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  5. It's been a year and a half since I read this book and even the thought of it still makes me smile. Lines like, “You've lost all your marbles and you can't have any of mine” make me really want to read it aloud. Every time I run across it, I pick it up and flip to a random page for the giggle that's sure to be there in one form or another.

    BTW, I may be late to the Gerard Butler party but I am there with a lampshade on my head. Which movie is this from?

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  6. For the record: that's NOT Gerard Butler. (Who is pretty nice-looking in his own right, but is not British.) It's Richard Armitage. Not heard of him? Find the BBC miniseries North and South, and then you'll understand.

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