Monday, October 6, 2008

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

Summary

Dear Anthony:

I appreciate your recent interest, but I’m not accepting applications at this time. Your letter will be kept in our files and someone will get back to you if there is an opening. Thank you for thinking of me.

Respectfully,

Alejandra Perez
P.S. It’s not “Allie.” It’s “Alé.”


Meet T.C., who is valiantly attempting to get Alejandra to fall in love with him; Alejandra, who is playing hard to get and is busy trying to sashay out from under the responsibilities of being a diplomat’s daughter; and T.C.’s brother Augie, who is gay and in love and everyone knows it but him.

* This is an alternate cover I found (on Steve's site, mind) that I liked better than the actual cover, which is that of a baseball bat *shudder* posing as an umbrella. You can view that one here.


Grade: A

Thanks to JL for the book!

Review:

What I’m about to say will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been in immediate contact with me at any time since last Saturday at approximately 4:27p.m. (my time):

This book kicks ass. It really, truly, fantastically does.

Which is why you’ll have to excuse my fangirl review. Aside from making a statement (this book rocks that much), once in a while I gotta let innermost Steph free herself from shackle-o’-snark.

Yeah, okay, whatever, so:

I think what captured me above all is this book’s ingenuity. The fact there is never a need for a vocal acknowledgment of how special it is, never a need to establish its unfailing cleverness.

The funny thing, I had no idea what it was supposed to be about. I liked the voice in the first page, and that’s it. (Wait, hold up: I alerted of the sheer fuck-this-is-awesome quality herein through The YA YA YAs. But that’s basically a given because Trisha has great taste [as seen in her review] and anything favorably reviewed there is worth the big bucks. *detaches lips from Trisha’s posterior*) Midway through the story, I realized there are two things present in here that usually annoy me:

- Baseball (world’s most boring sport that doesn’t stop at “mind numbing”)
- Epistolary format (a bunch of letters, magazine cut outs, emails, etc, are only so interesting after a while)

...and yet this story fully worked for me. Not at all overbearing.

Thank god.

And the characters! Oh my fangirly heart sings for them! I admit, they were all kick-ass automatons operating under a single directive, and that is, BE AWESOME, in a way that you only wish you were, but they were so great. So, so, so great. SO great.

Oh, and: HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH, the coming out of a main character went smoothly. Look, I know that In Real Life people tend to by biased toward you and your pee-pee preference if you want to keep it consistent with your own, but it’s just nice to read a book that—I hate this word but here goes: unflinchingly—transitions from “admit it, you’re gay” to “yes, I’m gay” without the whole world crashing down. It was just nice to see a world where people didn’t get all up in others’ businesses.

Upon finishing this review, I do not believe I am fit to tell you why this book is wonderful and why it deserves to be read. That was all of 373 words I wasted in a scattered manner all of which can be watered down to: This book. Rocks. I hope everyone who comes across this makes a mental note to pick up a copy sometime or another (sooner would be preferable) and understand it for themselves. Books like this are easy to rave on and on about; ultimately, however, they require their own voice to be truly understood.

It’s been two months since my last fangirly, A-rating review. Please know how serious I am.

14 comments:

Alea said...

This cover is much more attractive to me. Baseball bat-instant turn off. But yes this book does sound very good and actually letter and emails in books excite me greatly! And I will take your word on sports not being annoying in this book. So I will definitely buy this in paperback!

Book Chic said...

The cover you posted is much better, and definitely something that I'd pick up over the actual cover.

But it definitely sounds like a good book! I'll have to check it out sometime then. :)

Great review!!

Amee said...

I'm with Alea, the baseball bat turned me off causing me to overlook this book until you told me how awesome it is. It's now on my wish list!

While I love snarky Steph, fangirl A-rating Steph is still fun. :)

Kelsey said...

YES! We FINALLY get to read the review you've been talking about FOREVER! Yay! I still have no idea what this book is about (I'll look into it later.) But I will definitely add it to my wish-list, no doubt. Maybe I'll even check to see if my library has it.

Your review probably wouldn't be any better then mine if I loved a book as, obviously, much as you have. But you are a harsh critic, given that you have only given two 'A' reviews in two months. Whereas I have been giving fives out, it seems, once a week. But I'm just easy like that.

Kelsey

P.S. I agree with Amee on the last part. Snarky Steph is awesome, but fangirl A-rating Steph is nice every once in awhile.

Jen Robinson said...

Great review, Steph! I loved this one, too, and I'm so glad to see it getting such positive attention.

C. Leigh Purtill said...

Steph gave out an A? Did everyone mark this date on their calendars? ;)

This book does sound good. Let me add to your TBR pile: David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy, if you haven't read it already. Funny, sweet, takes place in a fantastically liberal town. No sudden implosions when characters come out.

Steve Kluger said...

My editor at Penguin forwarded me the link to this blog.

First off, thanks SO much for the kind words. Second, the alternate cover shot is the bookjacket for the trade paperback edition coming out in February. Although I liked the original, I'm crazy about the new one. So we're in complete agreement.

Again, thanks for taking the time to post the blog and spread the word.

Steve.

theyayayas said...

But that’s basically a given because Trisha has great taste...

Ha! But thanks for the compliment.

Wait, even though you read my review, you had no idea what it was about?! No, seriously though, I have such a hard time describing the book to others. I gush about how it's so good and funny and happy, but cannot find a good way to describe the plot to people who want to know what it's about.

Trisha

Khyrinthia said...

Blah, now you make me want book. Grr.

Alea said...

Yessssss! Cannot wait to hold this pretty cover and awesome sounding book in my hands in a few months!

Jessica said...

Wow! Thanks for the great review. I wish I had a copy to read right now.

Eli said...

Why don't you usually like epistolary format? I LOVE epistolary format. Ever since I read Regarding the Fountain as a child. And Feeling Sorry for Celia. Not to mention everything else by Jaclyn Moriarty. I didn't like TTYL that much, though, and that was epistolary-ish.
I really want to read this book now. Arg.

Steph said...

DUDE, am the only one completely psyched that the EDITOR of the book came around and emailed Steve? Argh *glomps invisible editor* And Steve! Thank you for stopping by! Glad we agree =)

Thanks to everyone else who's here. *waves*

@ Trisha - Haha I got a vague idea but I still didn't exactly grasp the concept. You're right that it doesn't come easily as an explanation! I still can't quite verbalize what it's about ...

Eli - I dunno. Maybe I just haven't read enough good stories in the format! (Gonna read Jaclyn's books soon though - I hear they're great!) You should look into getting this though - quite good. (Needless to say after this review, lol.)

Steph

Alea said...

That IS totally exciting! I didn't want to go OMG OMG OMG all over your blog but I was definitely thinking it. And now I have just done it...

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph