Imagine a novel set in a high school, with three main characters:  two boys and a girl.  Now imagine that I told you it was in the style of a classic teen romance.  All of these statements are true.  But my guess is that you imagined it all wrong.

Kluger has written a terrific teen romance for the modern age.  The two boys, TC and Augie, have called each other "brother" since they chose to become brothers at age six.  TC is a rabid Red Sox fan, while Augie's taste runs more toward musical theatre.  When Ale, a new student, arrives, she brings their whole world into focus.

Several things make this young adult novel a stand-out.  Most importantly, it deals with gay and straight characters very matter-of-factly.  Everybody but Augie seems clear that he is gay, including his parents.  And his realization that he IS gay isn't earth-shattering--it is simply clarifying.  Augie's incipient romance runs the same sorts of ups and downs as any other high school relationship.  This detail alone makes this book an important one for school libraries to own.

The novel also emplys a time-tested, yet up-dated narration.  Each of the main characters ( and to a minor extent, their parents and friends) tell their stories by way of journal entries in letter formats, IMs, emails, passed notes, and memos.  The story unfolds in this classic epistlatory form, yet feels entirely modern with its multiple narrators and newer technological means of communicating.  Each character has a clear, individual, strong voice that makes this novel a pleasure to read.

Finally, as an adult, I appreciate that not all the parents and teachers are depicted as dictatorial or clueless.  TC's Dad and Augie's parents are aware and thoughtful. While Ale's parents are more problematic, they too come around in the end.

As a teacher, I would love to pair this novel with a more traditional romance, such as "Romeo and Juliet" or "Pride and Prejudice."  It could spark some lively discussion on what has -- and has not -- changed in teenage life.  If one foregrounded the fact that in Shakespeare's time both Romeo and Julilet would have been played by young men, the differences may further evaporate.

This novel is sweet, gentle, and wonderful.  I would hope that libraries in both high schools and middle schools would feel comfortable offering such a delightful new spin on such an age-old topic.