Friday, September 16, 2011

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

My Most Excellent Year is a young adult novel by Steve Kluger. It follows teenagers T.C., his brother Augie, and Alejandra, and is written in the form of diary entries, instant messages, and emails from them and other supporting characters.

My Most Excellent Year also features a very well-written and -rounded Deaf character named Hucky. Hucky is a six-year-old boy living in a residence for Deaf children after his mother abandoned him. Hucky is befriended by the three main characters, especially T.C.

Hucky is an excellent contrast to many deaf children in literature. He definitely stood out in comparison to the little boy in Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz, who is basically treated as a tragic, misunderstood character with little feelings of his own except what other characters lay onto him. Hucky, by contrast, definitely has his own personality, opinions, way of communicating, and outlook on life.

The little boy is allowed to grow over the course of the novel, along with the other three main characters. By the end of the novel Hucky is very different than he was at the start, and you can see him blossoming.

His communication "problems" are never actually a problem. The characters embrace learning American Sign Language, and there are some funny moments when they can't communicate properly or don't know the right signs. The novel even touches on the difference between ASL and British Sign Language through another character.

This is a really sweet novel that I think is a great example of the way d/Deaf/hard of hearing characters can be written so well. I really liked it and I hope you get the chance to pick it up, too.

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