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Kid Konnection: Okay for Now

March 19, 2011

When Doug Swieteck’s family moves to Marysville, New York, he’s none too happy about it.   His family life is awful and he hates leaving his friends behind.   It doesn’t take him long to meet a firecracker of a girl on the library steps, though, and that meeting changes his life.  Not only does she help him get a job as a delivery boy for her family’s store, she introduces him to the library, where he discovers the art of John James Audubon and a fabulous librarian.

Things still aren’t easy for Doug though – his father is abusive, his older brother is accused of crimes, his oldest brother returns from Vietnam a changed man and a teacher discovers a secret that Doug has been hiding for years.  After all is said and done, Doug discovers that Marysville can be a wonderful place to live.

There’s a lot going on in Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, but it was never confusing or overwhelming.  In fact, it was nothing short of fabulous!  I felt so many emotions as I read this book – I laughed, cried, gasped and smiled in turn.   Poor Doug has so much turmoil in his life during his eighth grade year, and even though he brought some of it upon himself, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.   He doesn’t feel sorry for himself, though and makes the best of things.  You can’t help but love a kid like that!

Doug’s not the only great character in the book, though.  Okay for Now is chock  full of great characters from Doug’s family, to his friend Lil, to his teachers.   Even the small town of Marysville is a character in its own way.  I love the time period the book is set in as well, and Schmidt gets the historical details right from the lunar landing to the Vietnam War.

If Doug Swieteck sounds familiar to you, it’s because he was a character in The Wednesday Wars by the same author.  Okay for Now, is not its sequel but, rather, a companion book.  There was one small thing at the end of the book that didn’t quite ring true for me, but overall, I adored this book.  I think it’s an important book because it explores so many themes and issues that young people need to read about including child abuse, bullying, literacy, and respect for the handicapped.  I highly recommend this book for young adult readers on up!

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011 7:34 am

    I can tell how much you adored this book. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. March 19, 2011 8:10 am

    Wow, sounds like a fantastic read for young ones! I think my daughter would like this one too.

  3. March 19, 2011 8:31 am

    I always love to come and see what new book I should be getting next for my children’s (grandchildren’s) collection. It sounds really good.

  4. March 19, 2011 8:50 am

    I’ve heard elsewhere too that this is a really good book!

  5. March 19, 2011 8:54 am

    Sounds like a good book for my younger daughter in a year or two. Thanks for the great review.

  6. March 19, 2011 10:38 am

    This one really sounds wonderful!

  7. March 19, 2011 12:06 pm

    I loved THE WEDNESDAY WARS. Must pick this one up.

  8. March 19, 2011 1:50 pm

    This sounds like a great read, Kathy!

  9. March 19, 2011 8:21 pm

    This sounds like a great read! The characters you mention sound like I would want to read about them.

  10. March 19, 2011 8:22 pm

    I’ll have to keep this one in mind for the Little One when he gets a bit older.

  11. March 20, 2011 12:21 pm

    The cover of the book reminds me of something from Saturday Night Live.
    Happy to hear you enjoyed this one too 🙂

  12. March 20, 2011 7:32 pm

    Hmmm…this book was just ordered for my library and now I must read it!! 😀

  13. March 20, 2011 7:57 pm

    Oh, this does sound wonderful in all the right ways! I love the time period and issues that it deals with and think I would love to check this one out sometime. I bet Melissa would really love it too.

  14. March 21, 2011 8:48 pm

    that’s great you didn’t find all the things happening too cluttered. this sounds like a cute read. I’ve been wanting to read The Wednesday Wars.

  15. March 30, 2011 12:48 pm

    Sounds like a great book. Even though it’s not a sequel, do you think I’d be better off reading The Wednesday Wars first?

  16. Tom permalink
    April 28, 2011 12:17 am

    The best book I have read in twenty-five years !
    Read it all today.
    Overflowing with emotion, and wonderfully written.
    What is not stated directly is as important as what is laid out in words.
    Lots of room to reflect on what has been written.
    Tomorrow, The Wednesday Wars.
    Don’t let your children and/or grandchildren be the only ones to read it.
    Can’t recommend it strongly enough.

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