Three Boston high school students - T.C. Keller, Augie Hwong, and Alejandra Perez - all decide to write about ninth-grade for an English assignment on their "most excellent year." T.C. and Augie have been best friends and "brothers" since they were little, while Alejandra is a newcomer on the scene. Over the course of the year, T.C., a Red Sox fanatic, finds himself "adopted" by a six-year-old deaf boy, dramatically-inclined Augie discovers a secret about himself that seems to surprise only him, and Alejandra, afraid of not meeting the expectations that her ambassador parents have for her own diplomatic career, learns to embrace her unique talents. Meanwhile, of course, all three find themselves falling in love.
My feelings are kind of torn about this one. The story is told not only through T.C., Augie, and Alejandra's school essays, but through IM messages, emails, and even notes between their parents and teachers, which made for a fun structure. And there's no doubt that the book is full of hilarious moments. But sometimes the funny felt a little forced. All of the characters are so clever and amusing and witty that sometimes I wanted to scream that real people aren't like this! (At least not where I'm from - maybe Boston is a whole 'nother world) And some of the subplots are so unbelievable and tied up so neatly that it jolted me out of the story. Still, there were quite a few times while reading that I literally laughed out loud, and that's fairly unusual for me. So I guess maybe I'll give it one thumb up instead of two.