Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Best Man

I'm pretty excited that I've had some children books to read and review this fall because I'm a big fan of giving books as gifts for Christmas. If you get a book from me, you'll know that I spent some time trying to find a book I think you'd like. And with kids, winter break from school can get long so I always make sure my kids have a new book or two that they can read over break. This book would be a fun read for them that I think they can relate to.

The Best Man - Richard Peck
Newbery Medalist Richard Peck brings us this big-hearted novel about gay marriage from a kid’s endearing perspective

When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man—Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story, and a wonderful story it is. In Archer’s sweetly na├»ve but observant voice, his life through elementary school is recounted: the outspoken, ever-loyal friends he makes, the teachers who blunder or inspire, and the family members who serve as his role models. From one exhilarating, unexpected episode to another, Archer’s story rolls along as he puzzles over the people in his life and the kind of person he wants to become…and manages to help his uncle become his best self as well.

I can't remember for sure, but I'm certain I've read other books by Richard Peck. I at least know that he's popular in the middle school crowd, but even my daughter in fifth grade has read some of his books and she's been waiting to read this one.

The book revolves around Archer, who in his own right, is in the middle of puberty and middle school and it's tough for any kid. The story does start with a wedding and the introduction of Lynn Stanley, who would grow to be his best friend despite how uncool it is to be a middle school boy with a girl best friend, let alone one who basically saves him despite him asking to definitely not be saved by a GIRL. Archer's character reminds me so much of my son, a little un-cool, sweet, and trying to just get by and not get picked on. I love Archer's family, I love the hilarious way the author writes the story as well, for a YA book I was laughing quite a bit.

But the meat of the story is when Archer's uncle Paul, the super cool uncle everyone wishes they had, gets married to a guy. Which is confusing anyways to Archer but the other groom is Archer's favorite teacher, which makes middle school life even more complicated. I absolutely LOVED how this story handles gay marriage and it's really presented like it's no big deal. Just a really cool day that lets you wear a really cool suit that you'll be sad to outgrow.

If you follow my reviews you know how elusive a five star review is, but I have to give this book five stars. I do, it's that good. I'm such a fan of this book and I flew through it in one evening. I think we can all relate to Archer's school troubles but combine that with his family and life outside of school, it's such a sweet story, with a great lesson on love and friendship, and it's written with such humor. It's just a really great story. Totally recommend this for your kids- they'll love it.

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