Monday, April 2, 2012

MMGM: Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

About The Book: 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.
First Two Lines: Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York yankees baseball cap. I'm not lying.

Another Great Line: "Or maybe something starts out whole and then it turns into junk, like Joe Pepitone's cap getting rained on in a gutter somewhere." (176)

What Others Are Saying: "Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story."— School Library Journal, starred review

What I Thought: Okay For Now is labeled a YA, but since Doug is going into seventh grade I took a chance and was glad I did. Doug is like a Sour Patch candy, when you first start to eat it your tongue quivers, your cheeks pucker and your mouth is flooded with saliva but after the initial shock you get to the sweeter part and then you want it to last forever. Voice oozes from every page and as a writer you come away saying, yes, that's why I write, I want to give that to my readers. I especially appreciate when an author weaves deeper meaning through something concrete like Schmidt does with the Audubon paintings. The connections are subtle enough that they don't hit you over the head but resonate strongly long after the book ends. The sense of place is rooted in tangible things like the library, The Dump and the school. Places that anchor Doug in the 1960 time period. This is a real story, one that needs to be told because it's honest and gives voice to the real pain and struggle that loss can have on an already fragile family. Another great thing is while I suggest you read Wednesday Wars it isn't necessary because this is a companion book not a sequel.

About The Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Article in The Calvin Spark

Quote: "Write what you know. That’s too limiting. You write what you are desperate to know." —Gary Schmidt (More here.)

Hope you enjoy this video of Gary as much as I did. There is a wealth of interviews and information about him so be sure to check out the links.

Be sure to check out all the MMGM reviews today. You can find links to all of them in my sidebar!

On Wednesday I'll be interviewing debut author Annie Crawford. Her new book The Curse of the Jade Amulet is now available on Amazon and Smashwords!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this book also! Though I picked it up because of the YA label, it didn't disappoint.

  2. I loved (LOVED) this book! It's YA in my local library too, but truly, I think it defies either an MG or YA label. Gary captivates younger kids through his use of voice, but the issues addressed in the story reel in older readers. To fill both worlds takes one special book.

  3. Love how you describe Doug like a Sour Patch candy. I've read WEDNESDAY WARS and TROUBLE, but not this yet.

  4. I've heard great things about this. Surprised it's considered YA. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I just finished reading this and enjoyed it so much! It seemed more MG than YA to me.


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