Tuesday, April 7, 2009
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park
Kluger, Steve. 2008. MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR: A NOVEL OF LOVE, MARY POPPINS, AND FENWAY PARK. New York: Dial. ISBN 9780803732278 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
This is one of those fabulous books that you can’t put down, but you don’t want to finish. We see the action through three high school juniors’ assigned journal entries. The assignment requires that the entries track the course of their year and that they are addressed to a particular person. T.C. writes to his long, deceased mother, Augie to various Hollywood divas, and Ale to Jacqueline Kennedy. Along with the journal entries we get e-mail and instant messages from the main characters, their friends, and family. These multiple perspectives flesh out the various relationships and incidents and give us a well-rounded view of these highly likeable characters.
T.C.’s mother died when he was six and Augie is the only one who can distract him from his grief. They have been best friends and “brothers” ever since. He loves baseball and falls in love with Ale. Augie, Chinese American and Broadway obsessed, falls in love and realizes he is gay. No one is surprised. Ale is the new girl at school, her father a high placed diplomat. She initially rejects T.C., but becomes a close friend of Augie’s. Together they put on a talent review, befriend a six-year-old, deaf orphan named Hucky who is obsessed with Mary Poppins, and discover many kinds of love.
Invite students to imagine to whom they would address their journals. Did it make a difference to the writer that they addressed someone in particular? Did it make a difference to the writer to whom they addressed their entries?
Other feel-good YA novels:
Bauer, Joan. HOPE WAS HERE. ISBN 9780399231421
Sonnenblick, Jordan. NOTES FROM THE MIDNIGHT DRIVER. ISBN 9780439757799
By Cay Geisler