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The Best Man

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,762 ratings  ·  847 reviews
Newbery Medalist Richard Peck brings us this big-hearted novel about gay marriage from a kid’s endearing perspective

When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man—Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story, and a wonderful story it is. In Archer’s sweetly naïve but observant voice, his life through elementary school
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Dial Books
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,762 ratings  ·  847 reviews

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Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
"When did you decide to be gay, Uncle Paul?"

"Being gay isn't a decision. How you live your life is a decision."

Unlike the Grandma Dowdel trilogy, this Peck novel is a thoroughly modern comedy filled with cell phones, twitter, and viral videos instead of canning jars and privies. We get to spend an eventful five years in the wacky life of Archer Magill, as he he wends his way from elementary to middle school. Luckily, he's got some great role models, and, gasp! - a girl for a best friend.

Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the post-Wonder world, middle grade characters in school stories are often on their best moral behavior. If not, they often get a chapter or two of the multiple perspective narrative to explain themselves. After all, everyone is doing their best, right?

Richard Peck, on the other hand, does not overestimate the charity of children. His classroom as described by a sixth-grader, is populated by insufferable smarties, criers, the short kid, and the kid who is always asleep. His teachers can be h
Ms. Yingling
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Archer lives a fairly ordinary but pleasant suburban life with a fantastic family. His grandfather, an architect, designed the elementary school he attends, and walked him to school every day when he was younger. His father restores classic cars and cooks. His mother is not a wedding planner (as he thought when he was younger), but a marriage counselor. Older sister Holly, who skips a lot of high school in order to "visit colleges" is the only difficult character in the family, and bully Jackson ...more
While I appreciate the message of this book and agree we need good stories about gay marriage, I struggled to imagine what kid I would share it with next. The kids didn't sound like kids and the wit and cultural references seemed a better fit for adults. Disappointing. I know that this book has received starred reviews, but I want to talk to any children who have read it.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
I was so disappointed in this book and although I was almost done I never finished it. There were so many problems with this book that I am shocked it is getting such high stars! The one thing it did have going for it was the kind and open family Archer lived in and all the great male role models. I like the grandfather, the uncle, the dad, and Mr. Mcleod fine.

What I HATED (view spoiler)
Destinee Sutton
I LOVE THIS BOOK. It's hard for me to even write a review of this book I loved it so much. So I guess I will just list things I loved about it.

-I loved Archer's voice.

-I loved the plot structure, bookended by weddings, and told as if Archer is talking to the reader, guiding the reader through his 1st grade year to his 6th grade year.

-I loved Archer's family: his cook/mechanic dad, his psychologist mom, his architect grandpa, his Uncle Paul. Even his irritating sister Holly and his witchy gran
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Agghhh!! I'm drowning in a sea of ambivalence!

This book is terrific. The writing, the insight, the characters - all the things that are here are terrific. It's like... like the objects in the curio cabinet in my mother's dining room. Each item: each miniature domino set, porcelain sea urchin, loose semiprecious gemstone, expedition medal and antique fountain pen is a treasure, and each for different reasons. In this book, the parents who work from home, one as a marriage counselor, the other res
I loved this. It's a quick read but I think the author really caught the essence of a young boy growing up in a suburb of Chicago. If I had a child, I would definitely read this together because I think there are some wonderful life lessons in here without being preachy. I read it in two short sittings and I will even say I found it heartwarming. (Hard to grab the heart of a cynic like me, but as my best friend would tease, "It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.")
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, middle-grade
Archer Magill is going to be one of the best new voices in kids literature. He's just kind of gloriously naive about all these incredibly important things going on around him in only a way that an 11 year old can be. There's a fair amount of change going on in his life -- a new school, a death in the family and the realization that a favorite family member is gay -- and he has a way of rolling with these changes that is so simple and just makes sense. Is it weird to envy a fictional 11 year old ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OMIGOSHOMIGOSHOMIGOSH THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!! It really gives us a laugh, a concerned face, and a hand that continues to want to flip pages continuously! Its different from the others because it has many...........interesting features! I recommeng EVERYONE to read it!!!

Thank you SO MUCH Mr. Peck!
Apr 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
If nineteen-year-old me was dulled reading eighty pages of this book to the point of wondering if the author himself was dulled writing this book, I wonder if eleven-year-old me would have made it past page five.

Probably not.

I’m a little mad, I’m not going to lie. I feel like I’ve been lied to. Clearly, I expected this book to be about a little best man attending a gay marriage, and maybe the events surrounding the main one, but in the eighty pages I did read – and this book is quite short – the
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lynne
In the introduction to the ARC, author Richard Peck says he wrote this book in order to shed light on the issue of same-sex marriage. Reading this I admittedly had misgivings. Not because I have any negative feelings towards people who identify as homosexual but, rather because I worried the purpose of writing this middle grade novel was to fill some sort of quota, check off the "diversity in literature" box, thus making oneself feel good. Fortunately, the focus of the story was not the sexual o ...more
Jeremiah Henderson
Jul 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really tried to like this book, but there were several things that completely ruined it for me:
1. The dialogue of the children was not authentic and was too grown up.
2. The story was all over the place and didn't focus on the wedding until the very last chapter.
3. Being the best man was maybe a few pages. So the title doesn't make sense.
4. Being gay took a back seat in this book and other side plots took center stage.
Sorry Richard, but this one for me will stay on the shelf.
Mary Ann
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some favorite quotes I want to hang onto before I pass my copy along:
"Kids know most things before their grown-ups know they know. We're older than we look. It's complicated. We're older than we act." (ARC, 53) -- yes, absolutely
"Lynette's eyes rolled. 'It's not just his dog. Look at the collar on it. It's some kind of official dog, a professional. Maybe it can sniff out narcotics or dead bodies. Maybe it's trained to attack immature students who never notice anything.'" (ARC 76) -- love her sn
The Best Man is a sweet, lighthearted, matter-of-fact middle-grade novel with lovable characters and positive male role models, some of which happen to be gay.

But although I applaud the book's lack of sentimentality or "issues," nothing about it is particularly memorable.

Also, some parts of the story are so exaggerated that they occasionally seem ridiculous (I have in mind the au pair fan club, the eccentricity of Hilary Evelyn Calthorpe, or Ms. Roebuck's incompetence with computers).

Finally, th
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The iconic Richard Peck is back with what I feel is his greatest book to date: "The Best Man." I had the privilege of hearing Peck speak about his latest novel at Day of Dialogue in Chicago in May where I received an ARC of this book (which he so graciously signed!). The book comes out in September of 2016 - next month.

In his Day of Dialogue presentation, Peck said that he became a writer because his mother read to him and because of his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Cole, who handed him a copy of "Hu
Ariel Birdoff
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A 10 year old boy's take on love, life, marriage, and role models. Do yourself a favor: read it.
Gerardo Delgadillo
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 out of 5 stars

The Best Man is a cute, coming-of-age book. I liked the novel and the writing, but it's nothing to go crazy about. It's a very simple story told from Archer's POV. Yeah, it has its funny moments and the like.

The problem is, though, that the novel isn't "sticky"--not memorable. I mean, I finished reading this novel a week or so ago, and I can't remember much of the story line.

More at my blog:
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Richard Peck is a living legend, having defined the last 150 years of American history for children in a way no textbook ever could. And with The Best Man, one of the crowning achievements of a storied writing career, he proves that he is at home in the 2010s as in the 1920s.

I meant to read twenty pages before going to sleep. Instead, I read the entire book in one sitting, in my bed as the sky began to lighten. I could not put it down. I was bursting into laughter all the time. And at one point,
Carina Rosas
I can't finish. I am almost done but I am too bored to continue. The writing style is definitely not for me. :(
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A charming, endearing, and heartwarming tale of growing up in the Midwest. Archer's uncle is gay. So what?!! It's just one part of the story. Some people say that the dialogue isn't typical of a 6 year old. However, it's important to remember that Archer is telling the story as a 12 year old. Please don't get hung up on the language or you will miss out on a great book.
I LOVED this book! All the characters are hilarious and fleshed out pretty thoroughly. This one might be a winner!
What I think is that it is a good farther-son book and I loved it 5stars!
Amy Rae
There's a lot to recommend this book, to be honest. The author is a funny writer with smooth prose, I liked the characters a lot, and for a guy born in 1934, Richard Peck is pretty darned good at writing about social media and viral content. Not perfect--I think the long-term interest in Archer's hot substitute teacher lasts a little too long--but darned good.

I just had two problems that make it hard for me to give the book a higher rating:

1. I don't know how I would market this book to actual
I waffled between 3.5 and 4 stars. The nature of the heroes tipped the scale. Everyday, ordinary people doing their jobs as teachers, administrators, and especially as uncles, grandparents, and parents with dignity, individuality, and care for others. I fell in love with the Magill family.

At it's core, it's a story of a young man learning to be an adult man, to have integrity and devotion, respect and courage, and to pay just a bit more attention to his surroundings. Six-year-old Archer Magill
Archer comes from a fairly standard family in suburban Chicago. His mom is a marriage counselor (Archer thinks she is a wedding planner for years), his dad restores classic cars, his grandpa lives nearby and is a big part of his life, and his uncle Paul is one of the coolest people Archer knows. Archer's story begins and ends with a wedding. The first wedding occurs when Archer is 6 and he is the ringbearer. It is an unqualified disaster on Archer's part involving split velvet shorts and a muddy ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Archer recounts the two weddings that he has been in, one really bad and the other really good and all of the time in between. The first was a wedding where he was in first grade and the ring bearer. He tried hiding in the bushes and only managed to get his outfit full of mud and to rip a hole in the too-tight cloth. The best that can be said is that it made a popular YouTube clip. Archer also managed to make a new friend that day, a friendship that would carry through his grade school years. As ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was all kinds of adorable, and great for both upper-elementary and middle-grade students. Archer has a fantastic and hilarious narrative voice, and he's such a likable character that kids will relate to. I have to admit to being SLIGHTLY annoyed by the short, choppy sentences that are used to tell the story--I don't know if that's a Richard Peck thing or just something that was employed here due to the audience. However, I noticed it less and less as the story went on.

Archer just has such a
Amy Formanski Duffy
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very charming story of a 6th grade boy with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR positive male role models: his dad, his grandpa, his uncle and his teacher. Archer's Uncle Paul is the coolest: the snappiest dresser with the hottest car AND he has connections to get into Wrigley Field. He also happens to be gay, but that's NBD. The student teacher in Archer's 5th grade class is Mr. McLeod, a military man AND is the handsomest guy in Illinois. He has to sneak into school just to avoid marriage pr ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much and really didn't want the story to end. I wanted so badly to stay with all these characters much, much longer. I fell in love with just about everyone in this endearing story. I don't think Richard Peck has written a story with this much warmth and humor since A Long Way from Chicago, and its two sequels, A Year Down Yonder, and A Season of Gifts. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to have all the sweet and wonderful characters be my friends or family, or at least my next do ...more
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Richard Peck was an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder. For his cumulative contribution to young-adult literature, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 1990.

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“Stay away from people who don't know who they are but want you to be just like them. People who'll want to label you. People who'll try to write their fears on your face.” 4 likes
“We thought he was weird. He thought we were weird. It was great. It was what multiculturalism ought to be" -Archer” 1 likes
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