[Note to Ms. LaFontaine: I didn’t mean to give you a hard time about the title of this assignment, but “My Totally Excellent Year: would have been like so 1995, we’d have been laughed out of Brookline if anybody found out.
Things will have to change drastically if this book doesn’t end in my top 3 of YA novels of 2013. Yes, maybe all the characters were a little bit too successful, smart and self-assured for their age. But if you can manage the death of a parent, emigration, adoption and homosexuality without ever turning overly sentimental, preachy, cliché or really awkward, I happily ignore that. I giggled, I got teary, I squealed with joy.
The reader reads along with the three assignments of TC, Augie and Alejandra. TC tries to get his father back into dating, tries to get Alejandra to be his girlfriend, tries a lot of things. Augie lives by the gospel of Judy Garland and Nathalie Wood, and tries to realize what’s going on with his head and body whenever Andy is in some way involved. And Alejandra is an ambassador’s daughter, trying to discover how to break free from her parents’ plans for her without breaking their hearts. Add silly parents, a deaf six year old and a lot of musicals and you get a heart-warming mix.
I recommend this to anyone who needs a pick-me-up.
My Most Excellent Year – A novel of love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park, Steve Kluger, Dial Books 2008