Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Okay For Now

Okay For Now
by Gary D. Schmidt

As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. (description taken from

What an amazing book. I loved The Wednesday Wars when I read it last year, and I wasn't sure that Schmidt could live up to that standard, but he not only met it, he far surpassed it. This book was one of the few that touched me so strongly that I came home night after night to tell my husband all about the parts I'd heard that day in the car (I listened to it as an audio book - excellent narrator, btw!)

Doug is a great, great character. He's rough around the edges at first, hardened by his abusive father and caustic brothers, but as he adjusts to his new life, a much softer, strong, loyal, and inspiring young man grows out of the tough shell. Doug unknowingly inspires many of the people around him.

I loved this book so much I'm giving it a GOLD STAR.

I hope that whether you normally read realistic fiction or not, you will Doug and his story a shot. It was an emotionally uplifting, heart-warming, sincerely wonderful reading experience. Truly worth a gold star review!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

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