Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

A tale of teen brothers respectively wooing the girl and boy of their dreams.
An examination of the definition of family.
A joyride through love and hope and friendships in Brookline, Massachusetts.

As camp as a row of tents, this novel starts out strong and zips right along with journal entries, email, IM and other alternative text presentations. Every single character, even the minor ones, are larger than life.

TC is handsome, charming, loyal and caring. He is politically active and gets a 98 average at school when he doesn't purposefully keep it down to B+. TC's brother Augie is adorably cute and a total stage queen, performing old musical numbers right and left. (This was almost too much for me, except that the author blurb mentions that Kluger had always seen himself as the next Ethel Merman, and so I forgave him for making Augie over-the-top.) Alejandra is a top student AND she excels at song and dance AND her best friend is an agent of the US Secret Service. You get the picture.

Lots of fun. Give this to readers who like Alex Sanchez, David Levithan and James St. James.

Note added Dec. 24/09: My Most Excellent Year has won the inaugural Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. The finalists were all books that I loved: After Tupac and D Foster (Jacqueline Woodson); Graceling (Kristin Cashore); The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman); and Me, the Missing, and the Dead [also titled Finding Violet Park] (Jenny Valentine).


Anonymous said...

The title alone makes me want to read it! Is Mary Poppins the kids' equivalent of the code 'loves Barbra Streisand and/or Judy Garland'? There's no non-North American edition yet, unfortunately, but indy bookshops will be able to import it to far-off NZ where I live.


Lindy said...

Augie, the gay boy, does reference his diva heroines - including Streisand and Garland - in his journal entries. It is a 6-year-old deaf boy in the story who idolizes Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews makes a guest appearance in the story. She is participating in an AIDS fundraiser, so maybe there is a gay connection.