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Okay for Now
Contributor(s): Schmidt, Gary D.
ISBN: 0547152604     ISBN-13: 9780547152608
Publisher: Clarion Books
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: April 2011
Annotation: While Doug struggles to be more than the thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, as they explore Audubon's art.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Coming of age; Fiction.
Family problems; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2010942981
Lexile Measure: 850
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 6.50" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (1.10 lbs) 360 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 143203
Reading Level: 4.9   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 11.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q53293
Reading Level: 5.5   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 19.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):
Gary D. Schmidt is the author of the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. His most recent novel is The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall)
In this stand-alone story set in 1968, bad-boy Doug Swieteck (The Wednesday Wars) moves upstate with his family after his father's temper gets him fired. What "boring" Marysville, New York, offers Doug is something unexpected: kindness and a future. Captivated by a book of Audubon bird prints, he discovers a talent for art. Doug's story emerges through the character's distinctive voice. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #3)
Bad-boy Doug Swieteck from The Wednesday Wars (rev. 7/07) -- grudgingly respected for his bravado (he knew 410 ways to get a teacher to hate you) but feared because of his bullying older brother -- is back in a stand-alone story. Readers meet Doug's mean-spirited father, a man Doug dislikes but unconsciously emulates. When the family moves upstate after Mr. Swieteck's temper gets him fired, Doug's discontent mirrors his father's. They live in a "stupid" town, in a house Doug christens "The Dump," and people sit on stoops because there isn't "any boring thing else to do in boring Marysville." But what "boring" Marysville, New York, offers Doug is something unexpected: kindness and a future. He gets a part-time job; meets Lil, a sweet love interest; has teachers willing to teach him (as Schmidt gradually reveals, his need is dire); and, above all, is captivated by a book of Audubon bird prints when a caring librarian helps Doug discover a talent for composition and art appreciation. Schmidt incorporates a myriad of historical events from the 1968 setting (the moon landing, a broken brother returning from Vietnam, the My Lai massacre) that make some of the improbable plot turns (the father's sudden redemption, for example) all the more unconvincing. Still, Doug's story emerges through a distinctive voice that reflects how one beat-up kid can become a young man who knows that the future holds "so much for him to find." betty carter Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2011 February #3)

This companion to The Wednesday Wars follows the formula of Schmidt's Newbery Honor winner with less success. Doug Swieteck, a prankster in the previous book, has graver problems than Holling Hoodhood did, making the interplay of pathos and slapstick humor an uneasy fit. In summer 1968, the Swietecks leave Long Island for the Catskills, where Doug's father has found work. Doug's mother (like Holling's) is kind but ineffectual; Mr. Swieteck is a brutish jerk. His abuse of his three sons, one of whom is currently in Vietnam, happens mostly offstage, but one episode of unthinkable cruelty is recounted as a flashback to explain why Doug refuses to take off his shirt in gym class. Doug does make two key friends: Lil, whose father owns the deli for which Doug becomes delivery boy, and the less fleshed-out Mr. Powell, a librarian who instantly sees Doug's potential as an artist. There are lovely moments, but the late addition of an implausible subplot in which Lil, who has never shown an interest in acting, is drafted for a role in a Broadway play, seems desultory considering the story's weightier elements. Ages 10–14. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 April)

Gr 6–9—When his blowhard dad loses his job, Doug Swieteck has to say so long to his friend Holling and Camillo Junior High and get used to things in stupid Marysville, NY. His oldest brother's in Vietnam, his middle brother's still a hoodlum, his mom is quiet but enduring, and his only salvation is weekly visits to the public library, where the librarian is teaching him to draw by using models from a volume of Audubon's Birds of America. Also not too bad is Lil, the daughter of the grocer who gives him a delivery job. Fans of The Wednesday Wars (Clarion, 2007) will find that this companion novel has more in common with it than just a charismatic narrator and pitch-perfect details of daily life in the 1960s. In addition to a mix of caring adults and comically unreasonable authority figures, Schmidt also revisits baseball, theatrical escapades, and timely preoccupations like the Moon landing and the Vietnam War. But Doug's blue-collar story is much darker than Holling's in the earlier novel, and, as a narrator, he's more psychologically complex. Readers know right upfront that his father is abusive, but for a while Doug keeps the depth and magnitude—among other secrets—hidden from those around him. He grows to realize a lot about his family's relationships through study of Audubon's painted birds (one plate is featured at the start of each chapter), and the volume itself becomes a metaphor for his journey from fragmented to whole self. Schmidt manages a hard balance of relatable youth-is-hard humor and nuanced family trauma, though the mix of antics and realism is a bit Shakespearean. Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA

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