Wednesday, October 5, 2011

review: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

pub date: April 5, 2011
publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
pages: 368
format: audio
appeals: historical fiction, realistic fiction, family, art
content: clean

Schmidt has a gift of writing real, fully developed characters, including those on the edges of the story.

In the beginning of the novel, there are some really jerky people in Doug's life. His brother and the gym coach at his new school being two examples. Yet Schmidt has a way of showing why a character is the way they are, and with that new insight, no matter how jerky they are, it's hard to hate them. Which is AMAZING storytelling. The only character that I never really understood, especially at the end, was Doug's father. I didn't feel forgiveness towards him. But all the rest...POW! What GREAT characterization.

He is also amazing at playing my heart strings. One chapter I was so happy because things were FINALLY going well with Doug. But by the next chapter, something would happen that made me cry, literally cry. Twice I had tears running down my cheeks, I was so involved with Doug and his story, I had to keep listening long after I arrived home (I listened to it in my car and the narrator was wonderful).

I was very happy in the way the book ended--very hopeful. There was a while there where I was wondering if that would be possible. But it was. Yay!

The organization of the novel was also AMAZING. I loved how Auduban's artwork tied in so well with the story and the lessons Doug learns throughout the year of the novel. And since I listened to the book, it was rather nice how well Schmidt described the bird paintings because I didn't have the book to seem the birds myself.

So, if you haven't figured out how I feel about this book, let me tell you right out. I LOVED it. LOVED it.

And I'm not lying.

Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his 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.

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