Mimi's Reviews > My Most Excellent Year

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
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's review
Oct 31, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in February, 2012

I give the rating of two stars in its truest sense of "it's okay." This was a difficult novel to rate. I thought the writing was really good, and it was funny. But the main characters were all so incredible. They were all wealthy (or at least not poor), they all were really smart/got good grades, they were all really talented in different ways, they were all very attractive, etc. And I guess it is quite possible that three people like them would all be friends, so I don't know why I'm complaining about that. But I mean, both main male characters lettered in three sports, got straight As, were really nice to people, and did either comedy or musical theater. Are there that many guys like that running around high school? Jocks, nerds, and thespians all rolled into one?

And then you find out that one of them is gay, and the only reaction his best friend/brother has is "oh, I'm so glad you finally figured out that you were gay." It just seems like if I were a boy who had a best friend who was more like a brother, who I had a bed for in my bedroom and a bed of my own in his bedroom at his house that finding out he is gay would change the dynamic of the relationship a bit, at least a little. But no one seemed to mind. His best friends, his parents, etc. It was all taken in stride. The only mention of gay not being completely mainstream and normal was one sentence where the non-gay friend said that sometimes he was called a "fag" by people who assumed he was gay because they were such good friends. But he said he didn't mind that misconception, because girls seemed to take that as a challenge and chase him all the more. (I don't know if "fag" is a swear word or just a rude word, so I didn't know whether to type it out or asterisk it, but know that it is a not a word I ever say.) And I am not trying to imply that it should be a problem or come between them; I simply thought it might be something that would require more of a discussion between them.

The story line between Ale and Anthony is really sweet. And I loved the story line involving Hucky. He's just amazing. It is so sad that some parents with disabled children really can do things like that. I loved the sweet miracle of Mary Poppins and wish we could all keep more of the childhood magic alive in our lives. American Sign Language keeps popping up everywhere in my life (books, shows, seeing people sign when I'm out). I'm starting to wonder if I should try learning it. But I don't actually know any deaf people.

I found the parts very interesting that talked about how TC dealt with losing his mother when he was only six. And I really liked the close relationship that he shared with his father. Actually, all of these teenagers had good relationships with their parents. Their parents were all pretty involved in their lives, which seems to be rare in media portrayals of teenagers. Granted, Ale did hide from her parents that she was taking singing and dancing classes instead of French classes, but she did eventually come clean. And that is much smaller than some secrets teens have from their parents!

I really liked that these were high schoolers in a contemporary novel, but their relationships never went further than kissing.

There were a few comments that were anatomical in nature.

And I really think that it is not fair that boys don't get to have shower curtains in their locker rooms at schools. Girls get them. Boys should have them, too.

I picked up the book, because it was a YA book written by a male with two male protagonists, and I really was curious to see what they would be thinking and how it would turn out. And then I kept reading it, because I was interested what their view of the gay issue would be.

There was one completely unnecessary "F" word. And not even spoken. Just a character sketch in Anthony's journal about Bucky F. Dent. (But the F was not abbreviated.) Anthony is very much a Boston Red Sox fan.

I did like this quote. "Did you ever take modern dance . . .? Did you know that your body can say more with eight bars of music than you could possibly write in a fifteen-page essay?"

Augie's feminist journalist mother brought out some points regarding musicals that I had never thought of before.

Most of the baseball references and music references were over my head.
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Janet I found this book difficult to rate because I wanted to give it "no stars". Yes, the teenagers and their respective were portrayed as way too unrealistic and fantastic. I don't know any teenagers like this. This book was clearly the author's fantasy of what teenage life should be like. The author must have had a connection because I'm really surprised that this fairy tale ever got published.

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