Staff pick — Shannon

In The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, Doug Swieteck is a jerk and a bully, and a seventh grader I don’t like very much. In Okay for Now, Doug Swieteck is a boy who has a rough life at home, but loves his mom (and her pretty smile), a delivery boy who helps others, a baseball fan (especially of Joe Pepitone), a reader, and a boy I wish I knew.

Doug meets a lot of people who help him grow into the boy I wish I knew, like his physical science teacher Mr. Ferris, who says, “The basic principle of physical science is this: two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Do you understand that? … It means, Doug Swieteck, that in this class, you are not your brother.” The owner of the paper mill where his dad works teaches him how to play horseshoes, an eccentric playwright asks him to be in her play because he can “shriek like an insane woman who has been locked in an attic for a great many years,” and a librarian teaches him about art and James Audubon. As Doug meets these people he becomes a boy who has faith in himself and confidence in his abilities, and even Mr. Peattie the principal says, “You know, Mr. Swieteck, I haven’t told this to many students, but I’ll tell it to you. I think that you’re going to go wherever you want to go.”

Okay for Now is a middle grade to younger young adult novel. It is set during Doug’s 8th grade year in 1968.  I feel this book has quite a bit of appeal for any reader who is looking for a good coming of age story about a boy you want to root for.  Okay for Now is a companion book to The Wednesday Wars, but you don’t need to read one to read the other, and I greatly preferred Okay for Now. Author Gary D. Schmidt will be at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX on October 27th and 28th, 2012.


SCHMIDT, GARY D.                                  Original Date: 2011

Maryville, New York; 1968. Eighth-grader Doug, who loves baseball statistics and drawing, manages to be upbeat and honorable–despite having an abusive father, a brother who has been accused of robbery, and another brother who has returned from Vietnam injured. Companion to The Wednesday Wars (DB/RC 65788). For grades 6-9.

BR   19362         DB   73716


SCHMIDT, GARY D.                                  Original Date: 2007

Long Island, 1967. Seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood knows that Mrs. Baker “hates his guts” because she would have Wednesday afternoons free if he went to catechism or Hebrew school like his classmates. Mrs. Baker worries about her husband in Vietnam and introduces a reluctant Holling to Shakespeare. For grades 5-8.

BR   17810         DB   65788