Okay For Now, Gary D. Schmidt’s latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.
I tried to read the Wednesday Wars, I really did. I tried over and over again, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. It wasn’t that it was just hard to read. It was that I didn’t want to read it. And the cover wasn’t exactly so beautiful that I kept being drawn back to it. This book I was drawn back to because of the cover. The glossy, sleek, hardback, simply beautiful cover. I love simple but great covers. Ungifted by Gordan Korman. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilson. Divergent by Veronica Roth. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost. These are all among the list I was drawn to because of the cover. When I first saw Heather Brewer’s covers for her Vladimir Tod series, I was so jealous.
In this book, we meet a character we first saw in the Wednesday Wars, Doug Swieteck. He has a backstory far more sad than Holling’s, and I feel like in this book Gary D. Schmidt did a great job of telling Doug’s story. I mean, it seems improbable, that birds and Shakespeare could make for good stories and healing from a past you’d rather forget, but somehow Gary D. Schmidt pulls it off. What I love is how the author made every character count in this story.
In this story, Gary D. Schmidt takes some totally overused ideas and makes them his own in a way that comes out with something completely original. It tells a story about seeing the world in a different way, which might be totally cheesy and actually works.
This is a story about a lot of things, actually. It’s about small-town gossip, and how far it can spread in so little time. It’s about what you go through for a loved one, and sometimes how much the people closest to you can hurt you. How you can be ostracised because of the mistakes, failures and victories of those close to you.
A lot of what I didn’t like about this book and many award-winning books is that they feel like they’ve been written for Newbery award judges. That really doesn’t help for kids, considering they’re the ones reading them. Kids aren’t Newbery award judges. They’re children looking for something to read that won’t bore them to death and make no sense to them. This kind of walked the fine line between kids book and award book, but I liked it nonetheless. Beware that middle school kids who aren’t into contemporary WILL MOSTLY LIKELY NOT LIKE THIS BOOK, no matter how much you’re convinced that they will. It’s easier if you suggest a book to someone, instead of shoving it in their face and telling them it’s a good book and that they will love it. This book is a lot more enjoyable when you find it on your own. 3.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 360
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