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

Three teenagers in Boston narrate their experiences of a year of new friendships, first loves, and coming into their own.

Steve Kluger is an acclaimed author of novels for adults, and this is his fi rst crack at writing for teens. And in case you were wondering, he totally nails it. Steve lives in Santa Monica, California.

In his first novel for young readers, Kluger revisits themes in his adult titles: baseball, romantic sparring, and social activism. Boston teens T. C. and Augie are such close friends that their families acknowledge them as brothers. Alejandra has recently arrived from Washington, D.C., where her father served as a Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Written in multiple voices and nontraditional formats, including instant messages and school assignments, Kluger's crowded, exuberant novel follows the three high-school freshman through an earth-shaking year in which musical-theater-obsessed Augie realizes that he is gay, Alejandra reveals her theatrical talents to disapproving parents, and T. C. tries to make a deaf child's greatest wish come true. At the center are heart-pulling romances (even a few among adults) and a broadening sense of what family means. A few plot twists will require readers to suspend belief, and the voices tend to sound alike. Still, the appealing characters are bright, passionate, and fully engaged in their lives, and many readers will lose themselves in this original, high-spirited story. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

How many novels have such a cast of characters: A Red Sox addict who writes letters to his dead mother; his gay American-born Chinese "brother"; a love interest whose role model is Jacqueline Kennedy and who's the daughter of the ambassador to Mexico; a young boy who thinks Mary Poppins is real; and a father romancing his son's school adviser? Kluger's foray into young-adult literature does, and it all works wonderfully in a modern-day tale of baseball, romance, Broadway musicals and even baseball at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Written in letters, instant messages, school assignments and e-mails, this romantic comedy is pure fun. T.C., Augie, Alejandra, Andy and others find that romance means learning to see with new eyes and becoming new under the influence of magic in the world. The many characters are well-drawn and believable, and readers will care about them. The innovative format works well in relating the multiple love stories, and the story ought to appeal to a wide range of readers. (Fiction. 12+) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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