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 Al‚. She's pretty, sassy, and on her way to Harvard. T.C. falls hard, but Al‚ 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.
Three teens complete an English assignment detailing their "most excellent year" in this big, warmhearted tale about musical theater, political organizing, baseball, friendship and love. Tony Conigliaro Keller (named like everyone in his family for a Boston Red Sox player) and Augie Hwong have been self-declared brothers since age six, when T.C.'s mother died. Entering high school, everyone but Augie knows that Augie is gay, which finally dawns on him when he falls for another student. Meanwhile, T.C. develops an intense crush on the novel's third essayist, Al Perez, daughter of a Mexican diplomat now teaching at Harvard. While T.C. and his father share a baseball obsession, Augie and Al get close when both are cast in Kiss Me, Kate. The essay segments are spliced with diary entries (T.C.'s are addressed to his mother, Al 's to Jacqueline Kennedy); e-mails from and between parents, teachers and Al 's former Secret Service agent; reprints of Augie's mother's hilariously excoriating theater reviews; transcripts of IM sessions. The characters are a little too good to be true, and there's a distracting and improbable subplot about a deaf motherless child obsessed with Mary Poppins. The protagonists sometimes sound more like 40-year-olds than teens; however, the results are unexpectedly positive, opening up the audience to adults as well as the target reader. Ages 12-up.