My Most Excellent Year, follows three friends, T.C. Alé and Augie, through their junior year of high school. Their most excellent year. It’s a year of change, discovery and growth for all of them.
All three friends feature in the novel prominently, each taking turns to narrate the story, but the pin which they revolve around is Anthony “T.C.” Keller. Fourteen years old and living with his widowed father T.C hasn’t yet fully overcome his mother’s death, but still attacks life with a positive attitude.
Augie Hwong is his best friend, he and T.C adopted each other as ‘brothers’ almost as soon as they met, so much so in fact that, they refer to each others parents as pop, & mom and dad!
Together they draw Alejandra Perez aka Alé, exchange student and daughter of an ambassador, who despite her heritage is quite capable of insulting an entire nation into their friendship and together the three end up having a truly remarkable year.
The book is full of so many plot lines, but yet it never feels overwhelmed. It’s a story about first loves. T.C. and Alé are falling in love and enjoying playing the game enough not to rush things. Augie is discovering something about himself that everyone else already knows, he’s gay, and he too is falling in love with fellow student, Andy Wexler. (There’s a fantastic scene, where he asks his dad for advice on love, and it’s only as he leaves the room, his dad realises that his son has just “come out” and neither of them noticed (note, his dad already knew of course, so the incident amuses him))
It’s also a story about being passionate about life, enjoying it to the full and holding firm to your beliefs, T.C. fights to clear a long dead Baseball player’s name and Alé and T.C. launch a campaign to restore a Baseball diamond at the Manzanar National Historic Site that goes all the way to congress!
And then T.C. befriends an orphan, a little six year old deaf boy called Hucky, in whom as T.C. gets to know him, sees something of himself at the same age. Some of the adults are worried that he’ll soon grow bored with playing big brother, and ditch the boy, but as T.C’s pop proudly observes, when T.C. commits to something, he commits with all his heart. In the end, Augie and T.C teach the boy all about being six, and he becomes as much apart of he extended family as anyone else.
See, what I mean by being a packed story? But it works, and works fantastically! It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a book so thoroughly. It’s an utter delight to read, from start to finish, the journal entries and IMs from the three teens, the occasional email from the adults, that form the story, combine perfectly. T.C’s entries addressed to his dead mother telling her about his life, often tug at even the hardest of heartstrings! The story is packed with humour and the flirtations between T.C’s dad and his advisor at high school are responsible for some real laugh out loud moments.
Okay, enough gushing from me, or I’ll be going on all day.
My Most Excellent Year, of course won the recent, Nerds Heart YA tournament, you can check out the reviews that got it there and even more below.
- Valentina (Round 1)
- Heather (Round 2)
- Nicole (Round 3)
- Nymeth and Chris (Final)