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My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park Hardcover – March 13, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; Reprint edition (March 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732278
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. Grades 8-12. --Gillian Engberg

Review

"A sprawling, comically pitched story...as tangled and entertaining as a production of 'Kiss Me, Kate'." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 19, 2008

"Practically perfect in every way." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 4, 2008

...this is a rich and humorous novel for older readers...a fun, feel-good story with star quality. -- School Library Journal, starred review

...this romantic comedy is pure fun...and the story ought to appeal to a wide range of readers. -- Kirkus, starred review

A big, warmhearted tale about musical theater, political organizing, baseball, friendship and love--opening up the audience to adults as well as teens. -- Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2008

Funny, affecting, smart and surprising, too. The climactic moment is good as a Broadway curtain call--or a neighborhood outing to Fenway. -- The Washington Post, March 16, 2008

Kluger's easy-breezy and thoroughly absorbing novel channels the hearts, heads, and hormones of three high school students. -- Horn Book

Customer Reviews

I totally feel in love with the characters!
Krystle Filippelli
And make no mistake, Kluger's narrative is masterful, the story flows and comes alive in a most delightful way.
K. Fusaro
This book had me laughing out loud most of the time, and yet still had me needing a few tissues.
Deeze

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Monica Tapia on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My father read it, my niece read it, and I read it--and it's all we've talked about at dinner for the last two weekends. My father loved all of the baseball references, my niece fell in love with both of the boys in the story, and I was amazed at how deeply moved I was by how much the parents cared for their kids. Not to mention the laughs and coming to remember that ANYthing's possible as long as your heart's behind it.

Our library has this one shelved in general fiction AND a second copy in teen fiction. Now I understand why.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Drew D. Ferguson on January 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a book that definitely and swiftly made my list of favorites for 2008. It's full of warmth, heart and most of all laughs. After reading it (one-sitting), I knew it was one of those books that you've just got to share with someone, so I lent it out and sure enough, the friend had to keep it. Needless to say, I've bought about 10 more copies for friends and family. In Last Days of Summer and Almost Like Being in Love, I got hooked on Kluger's writing and his great characters; with My Most Excellent Year, I became a full-fledged fanatic. This is definitely one you won't be able to put down, and one you'll wish didn't have to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By GreenG on January 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of the best parts of any online literary forum is noting wildly diverse reactions to the same book.
Steve Kluger's My Most Excellent Year illustrates the point that we need as wide a variety of reading material on library shelves as there are readers, in order to please a whole spectrum of palates.

Those who gave negative reviews, citing characters who stretch the bounds of believability and a too-happy conclusion without much in the way of real adversity are right, in my opinion. T.C., Augie, Ale, even the parents seem like incredibly evolved and self-actualized human beings; sad little Mary Poppins-loving Hucky signs his way into everyone's hearts; wise guidance counselor Lori might as well have "Pop and T.C.'s future wonderful wife/stepmom" emblazoned across her forehead, and by the end, everyone is practically singing a Broadway finale in harmony with their arms around each other. Fair enough; it is indeed too good to be true.

That said, isn't there still a place for the unapologetically joyful, the perhaps overly hopeful and earnest,world-the-way-you-wish-it-was novel? YA literature is jam-packed with somber dystopian stories, all betrayals, sharp edges and shredded ideals. These are worthy explorations. Young adults need to be challenged, to have their beliefs and boundaries examined, pushed, cast in sinister shadow from time to time; many incredible contributions to YA literature have been written in the past several years, and I am not even attempting to place them in the same category as Kluger's comparatively light and frothy book. But there SHOULD be room for a FUN coming-of-age story, with baseball, show tunes and light romance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Marley on April 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I personally am not a fan of modern day fiction. It's always the same - some drama about her girl and her boyfriend... and grades or something. I don't know - BUT I picked up this book, because I was really intrigued by, "A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park."

The characters were a bit over the top, a little too perfect - but that is my only complaint. I loved the story and read the book in one sitting. I was utterly surprised that I actually enjoyed it - I've even recommended it to friends... and now an Internet full of strangers. :P

This book really has something for everyone. I was delighted by all the musical references... but 97% of the baseballs ones went over my head.

If you're looking for a cute, feel-good book, this is your best bet!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Andres on July 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely adore this book! I'm thinking of giving it as "the" Christmas present this year. It's a great, fun story of 3 high school students growing up. All kids are very different and yet form a meaningful friendship with one another. The book touches on various life revelations such as sexuality, adoption, the idea of what is expected of you and what makes you truly happy. All the revelations are handled quite tastefully. The book is written if diary/ journal type format so not only do the characters tell you their personal thoughts it's as if you are experiencing their growths along with them. As a reader, you leave feeling as if you are really one of their friends.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ashes on October 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I like Steve Kluger's writing, as a general rule. And he certainly used his usual charm and lightheartedness in 'My Most Excellent Year', but for me the charm couldn't supersede the sense that the characters were all a little TOO cute and TOO clever to feel real or be able to relate to them. Yes, it's a fantasy and there's a theme of magic, but the nearly constant overly witty repartee actually becomes boring when there's no juxtaposition against common speech. There needs to be a balance or else it simply becomes tedious. Kluger often doesn't have a "bad guy" or a true opposing force against the protagonists, but the lack of one was even more apparent in this story. At least in 'Almost Like Being in Love' there was a very distinct direction, a goal, but the various issues and themes in 'My Most Excellent Year' kept the book from having the same sense of purpose, the same imminent drive to a finish point, that the other book had, regardless of the lack of a typical "bad guy".

And, frankly, everyone was a bit too perfect. T.C. was the perfect son, the perfect best friend, the perfect suitor. Ale is the perfect gal pal, the perfect performer, the perfect student. Augie, unfortunately, was a caricature. A positive one, certainly, but he still felt unreal. His self-confidence in being an out, theatrical male teen never wavered. He never worried at all about his place in the high school world or within his family and, really, I would have liked to have seen even a TOUCH of true angst (I don't count his blip of worry over Andy's opinion of him because he didn't hesitate to say "accept me as I am or don't"...and Andy, quite perfectly, did).
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More About the Author

STEVE KLUGER shook hands with Lucille Ball when he was 12. He's since lived a few more decades, but nothing much registered after that.

Kluger is a novelist and playwright who grew up during the Sixties with only two heroes: Tom Seaver and Ethel Merman. Few were able to grasp the concept. A veteran of "Casablanca" and a graduate of "The Graduate," he has written extensively on subjects as far-ranging as World War II, rock and roll, and the Titanic, and as close to the heart as baseball and the Boston Red Sox (which frequently have nothing to do with one another). Doubtless due to the fact that he's a card-carrying Baby Boomer whose entire existence was shaped by the lyrics to "Abbey Road," "Workingman's Dead," and "Annie Get Your Gun" (his first spoken words, in fact, were actually stolen from "The Pajama Game"), he's also forged a somewhat singular path as a civil rights advocate, campaigning for a "Save Fenway Park" initiative (which qualifies as a civil right if you're a Red Sox fan), counseling gay teenagers, and--on behalf of Japanese American internment redress--lobbying the Department of the Interior to restore the baseball diamond at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Meanwhile, he's donated half of his spare time to organizations such as Lambda Legal, GLSEN, and Models of Pride, and gives the rest of it to his nephews and nieces: Emily, Noah, Bridgette, Audrey, Elisa, Paloma, Logan, Evan, and Robbie--the nine kids who own his heart. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts--the only city in the world.

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