WWW Wednesdays: October 2

WWW Wednesdays

WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

It’s Wednesday, middle of the week! The weekend is just around the corner. While I don’t participate in WWW Wednesdays every week, I still think it’s fun to do from time to time. This way, I get to talk about books that I might not get a chance to review later on.

My Most Excellent Year outdoors

Last book I finished: My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, which I wrote a Retro Friday review for. It’s an under-the-radar contemporary YA novel that I think more readers should check out. It was such a fun and heartwarming read for me.

The Dream Thieves in Times

Currently reading: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, the sequel to The Raven Boys. I enjoyed reading The Raven Boys but my favorite Maggie Stiefvater novel is still The Scorpio Races. However, several book blogger friends have been raving about The Dream Thieves so I have high hopes for this one. I’m halfway through and I’m enjoying it but still waiting to be wowed.

The Chocolate Heart galley

Planning to read next: I requested and got approved for The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand on NetGalley, the fifth book in the Amour et Chocolat series. I’m so excited to read this because the release date isn’t until November 26 but the galley is already available. I love the Amour et Chocolat series and it’s nice to have a new Laura Florand title in my Kindle.

What about the rest of you, care to answer the three questions thrown out by this meme? What book are you currently reading, what have you just finished and what are you thinking of picking up next?

Retro Friday: My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

The moment I saw my good friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous give My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger such a glowing review, I knew I would want to read it. I went on Goodreads and also realized that another friend, Flannery of The Readventurer, rated it highly. I wanted to grab a copy as soon as I could but since books are expensive here in Singapore, I waited until I was in Manila before buying the paperback. I’ve had my copy since December last year and only felt like reading it recently. I was in the mood for a fun contemporary YA read and thought My Most Excellent Year would fit the bill. It was published in 2009 so I realized it’s the perfect choice for a Retro Friday review.

My Most Excellent Year outdoors

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Best friends and unofficial brothers since they were six, ninth-graders T.C. and Augie have got the world figured out. But that all changes when both friends fall in love for the first time. Enter Alé. She’s pretty, sassy, and on her way to Harvard. T.C. falls hard, but Alé‚ is playing hard to get. Meanwhile, Augie realizes that he’s got a crush on a boy. It’s not so clear to him, but to his family and friends, it’s totally obvious! Told in alternating perspectives, this is the hilarious and touching story of their most excellent year, where these three friends discover love, themselves, and how a little magic and Mary Poppins can go a long way.

I am happy to report that My Most Excellent Year lived up to my expectations. It is such a feel good, heartwarming kind of read. I have no idea why it isn’t more well-known. It’s been out for a while now and I think only a handful of my blogging buddies have read it. It’s a good thing I love spreading the word about under-the-radar titles because I need to convince more people to read this. At first glance, I didn’t think My Most Excellent Year was the kind of book that I would enjoy mostly because the story has alternating POVs (T.C., Augie and Alé) and their interests lie in American history and politics, baseball and musicals. While I love seeing musicals, I’m not a die-hard fan who knows all the songs, actors/actresses and notable performances. And I know next to nothing about baseball and American history. In spite of that, I was absorbed by the story because at its core, My Most Excellent Year is about family, friendship and first love. I was charmed by the thought of two boys, T.C. and Augie, deciding to be brothers when they were 6 years old. Not like two best friends who think of each other as brothers, they really act like siblings to the point that even their parents have gotten used to having two sons instead of just one. So they have a Mom, Dad and a Pop. They share their rooms in two households and they have vacations together. I thought it was so sweet how warm and accommodating their families were. This book has such great parents in it, I think it’s worthwhile to point that out since we rarely see wonderful parents in YA.

My Most Excellent Year - headings

During ninth grade, both T.C. and Augie have to deal with falling in love for the first time. It was so much fun to see them struggling to adjust to what they’re feeling (especially Augie, who hasn’t even figured out that he likes boys instead of girls). It was sweet how supportive they are of each other, not just in their love lives but also in their interests in general. Like T.C. would watch musicals with Augie even if he doesn’t really enjoy them. Being great guys, it’s not surprising when T.C. befriends a lonely, deaf six-year-old boy called Hucky and Augie was right there along with him. T.C. wanted to reach out to Hucky because he sees a young Augie in the little boy, while Augie thinks Hucky was exactly like T.C. when they were that age. I hope it doesn’t seem too confusing that there are a lot of characters in the book because it was very easy to get to know the characters. I also really liked the format of the book – emails between various characters (I loved how even the parents email each other about their kids), IM messages and diary entries. I could relate to the format because that’s also how I communicate with friends and family, especially now that I live away from home. This was such a lovely, immensely readable book, the kind that lets you end on a happy sigh. While younger in tone and feel compared to some of the other contemporary YA novels that I loved, I still highly recommend My Most Excellent Year to anyone who needs an uplifting type of read. I’m mighty curious about the rest of Steve Kluger’s back list.

My Most Excellent Year - Augie

Other reviews:
Young Adult Anonymous
The Readventurer
The Book Smugglers
Book Nut

Want Books: My Most Excellent Year

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted here at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. Everyone is free to join, just grab the image above. Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can do a roundup with each post.

I’ve been wanting to read My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger ever since I saw this glowing review from my friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous. I then found out that another friend, Flannery of The Readventurer, also loved the book. Even though I’m not familiar with Boston or Fenway Park, I’m always up for good contemporary novels so I checked if the library has copies of this. Unfortunately, it’s not available in the branch that I go to. I also checked the bookstore but they don’t have it either. Maybe I can grab a copy when I go home, bookstores in Manila have better stocks than the ones here.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

My Most Excellent YearBest friends and unofficial brothers since they were six, ninth-graders T.C. and Augie have got the world figured out. But that all changes when both friends fall in love for the first time. Enter Alé. She’s pretty, sassy, and on her way to Harvard. T.C. falls hard, but Alé is playing hard to get. Meanwhile, Augie realizes that he’s got a crush on a boy. It’s not so clear to him, but to his family and friends, it’s totally obvious! Told in alternating perspectives, this is the hilarious and touching story of their most excellent year, where these three friends discover love, themselves, and how a little magic and Mary Poppins can go a long way.

What about you, what book is in your wishlist?