Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

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As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

About Gary D. Schmidt

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Gary D. Schmidt is the bestselling author of Okay For Now, the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. David Diaz has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, which received a Newbery Honor; and Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, a Pura Belpré Honor Award winner. An illustrator and graphic designer for more than twenty-five years, he is also a painter and an accomplished ceramic artist. Mr. Diaz lives in Carlsbad, California.
Published April 5, 2011 by Clarion Books. 368 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for Okay for Now

Kirkus Reviews

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He meets pretty Lillian Spicer, just the feisty friend Doug needs, and a whole cast of small-town characters opens Doug to what he might be in the world.

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The New York Times

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Gary D. Schmidt tells a tale of an eighth grader’s healing and discovery through art.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

The Wall Street Journal

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Three of the year's most engaging middle-grade novels feature a close friendship between a boy and a girl, the upheaval of geographical displacement, and, oddly enough, remarkable and unusual birds.

Dec 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

Christian Science Monitor

Schmidt’s 2007 Newbery Honor-winning novel “The Wednesday Wars.” Although the hilariously named Holling Hoodhood starred in that novel, his friend Doug – and the entire, dysfunctional Swieteck family – have now gone on to bring life to companion novel Okay for Now.

May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

Suite 101

In this suspenseful sequel, Jack Osborne and his sister are captured by the drug cartel they've been hiding from.

Mar 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

Common Sense Media

The librarian gives Doug drawing lessons out of the goodness of his heart, and some of the kids at school stand up for Doug when they feel he has been unjustly punished.

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Shelf Awareness

In this edition of Kids' Maximum Shelf--the monthly Shelf Awareness feature that focuses on an upcoming title that we love and believe will be a great handselling opportunity for booksellers everywhere—we present Okay for Now by Gary D.

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A Patchwork of Books

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Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

Shelf Awareness

The first is Mr. Powell, who sees Doug staring at a picture of The Arctic Tern in the Audubon book on exhibit in a glass case at the Marysville Free Public Library.

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WAPL Teens

Doug had a bit part in the first book, so you don't need to read the first to get this one (on the other hand, read The Wednesday Wars you won't regret it.) I'll see you @ the library!

Jul 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

Jackson District Library

Doug hates the stupid Dump they live in, hates the stupid town, and the stupid school, but especially the stupid library with its stupid hours and the stupid pictures on the second floor that he can't forget.

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Okay for Now

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Mark Swaim-Fox

Mark Swaim-Fox 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list