Gary D. Schmidt
Clarion Books, 2011
Audience: All Teens
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.
This was an excellent read. It was a great way for teens to learn about the Vietnam War era. It was historical fiction, but it didn’t feel like a historical fiction book. It was about George Washington and they didn’t hit you over the head with a bunch of dates and facts. It did manage to capture how life was different than it is now.
Watching the characters grow had its ups and downs. I liked seeing the main character have things go his way, but I didn’t find the changes the father and the brother went though to be believable. I understand that things changed for them right before they changed, too. I just think that a change like that wouldn’t be enough to alter someone’s behavior and personality as much as it did.
I read this for book club and it was great to talk about. We all were interested in reading more books by the author.