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on January 16, 2017
I loved this book too. Usually companion books to the original story, in this case The Wednesday Wars, are not as good or even horrible. Also a National Book Finalist like the original, this book stood on its own as a great novel. There is less emphasis on literature but Jane Eyre is brought into the story as well as art/drawing, science and geography. It is set in the 1968-1969 in the era of the Vietnam War and the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The main character Doug, moves with his very poor family from NYC to a small town so his drunk abusive father can find work. Starting out as an outcast due to his family's financial situation and his brother and father's criminal reputation, Doug is taken under the wing of a few citizens of Maryville like the town librarian, his science teacher, and the grocer's daughter who see him as his own person, a good person with talents and intelligence that no one has tried to nurture and grow until now. They help him get through the abuse and neglect he has to endure as well the town suspicion of his family for the store robberies occurring around town and his older brother coming home from the war with life-changing physical and mental injuries. This was also written as a children's book but as an adult I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on August 9, 2017
I simply love this book! It's one of my favorites to read aloud to students. They stayed tuned in throughout the whole book. We keep guessing what might happen as we progress, and it's fun to see how the students feel about the different characters.
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on March 24, 2013
Okay for Now is part of a unique group of books that get by without having a climax. These books do this by engrossing the reader in the lives of the main character and making you feel like you are living with them and that they are your friends. It's a difficult art form to master, but Gary D. Schmidt has now accomplished it twice, with The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now.

The characters in this book are vivid and realistic, and the plot is believable the throughout the entire story. There is excellent character development, and Doug's quest to complete the book of birds comes to a satisfying conclusion. There are dark parts and there are light parts, and they are weaved together nicely to create an engrossing experience. Well done, Mr. Schmidt. Well done.

Another good thing about this book is that it will please fans of The Wednesday Wars (Such as myself) while no prior knowledge about Doug is needed for the story to make sense. It's just as fresh and original as its predecessor.

Although this didn't bother me, Doug had a very unique way of talking. He uses lots of run on sentences and repeats phrases such as "You know how that feels?" or "I'm not lying." plenty of times throughout the novel. This may annoy some readers. Also at risk of alienation are Red Sox fans, as Doug is a die hard Yankee fan and looks up to Yankee great Joe Pepitone. There is also a trivia contest in the middle of the novel about Yankee baseball that some Red Sox fans might want to skip over.

In conclusion, if you are bothered by little things like catch phrases or purposeful run-on sentences, this book is not for you. This book may be hard to read sometimes if you hate the Yankees. But if you can look past all that, you will find a wonderful story underneath, filled with adventure, feeling, and a great morale.
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on November 21, 2017
My daughter is reading this book in anticipation of a school visit from the author and she loves it! I like the historical elements/time period nuances and that it drives her to ask questions about the time period and the goings on of the era. She is looking forward to reading Wednesday Wars next!

Okay for Now
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on March 29, 2013
I was introduced to the Junior or Young Adult gendre of books only a couple of years ago. When I was a kid we relied on things like "Lassie," "Black Beauty," "The Secret Garden," and the Nancy Drew series. But nothing spoke to the life I was experiencing as a troubled teen. And then I had to read the "Wednesday Wars" for a Sabbath Reading for Pastors program and made the delightful discovery that there is something substantive between "Little House on the Prairie" and Harry Potter.
Several months ago I heard an interview with Gary Schmidt on the car radio. He was so interesting and the things he was saying about his newest book were so intriguing that I ordered "Okay for Now" for my Kindle as soon as I got home.
This story seems to be about real kids with real problems. When I was young, no one talked about their parents getting divorced or any other kind of family trouble. We kept everything inside and maybe didn't even let our pastor or our favorite teacher know what was eating at us. But books like this one invite a young person to think about what she's going through, maybe talk about it with a friend, maybe even discuss these things in the classroom. How refreshing! And how healthy!
My oldest grandchildren are too old for this group of books now, and my youngest are not quite ready, but Grandma will be waiting to grace their Christmas tree with books that were really written for them.
The Rev. Judith A. Meier
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on October 9, 2016
This is a very good book. My 13 year old grandson enjoyed it very much. It centers around a teen boy that has many problems in his family and moves to a new location. He is misunderstood by teachers and seems to be the victim of many unfair judgements. He finds friendship in a girl and learns many things while working as a delivery boy for a small deli. Mis always any happy as well as sad events happen in this book. The reader is always anxious to know what will be the outcome.
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on November 22, 2013
I cried for the last fifty pages, at least. This was such a beautiful book. Heart-wrenching in some moments, tender and even funny in others. The narration is spot-on for a 13-year-old boy. Much like so many teenagers I know, Doug has a way of getting in your heart despite his attitude and a biting tongue (or maybe it's partially because of the quick tongue). I happen to be married to someone who loves the Yankees as much as Doug does (they even share a name!), and Jane Eyre is my favorite of all favorite books, so I was in reader's heaven when the two worlds merged. Layers upon layers of literary themes wind their way through the whole story, making it one of those YA books that seemlessly moves beyond its target audience. It's definitely one to revisit--maybe after reading Jane Eyre on a flight to NYC to see the Yankees play and catch a broadway play.
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on November 17, 2011
Schmidt is a fantastic writer--it must be said. His prose is crisp, lovely, and almost always absolutely in voice. This story is rich in symbolism, humor, and the cast of characters in general is fantastic. I deduct a star only because (mild spoilers) I found myself increasingly annoyed at how each starkly 'bad' character (and there are several) had a sudden and sharp turning point that felt unearned. As a reader I wanted some more hints at complexity before Doug himself sees the people around him more holistically. Also, I didn't see the point of a certain unresolved plot point that isn't even foreshadowed and only shows up right near the end--it just felt tacked on, as well as unlikely. It almost pushed the story right over the edge from 'implausible, but I'll play along' to 'come ON'. But not quite...because overall, I'm still glad I read it. Those things are usually big annoyances for me, but I still give it four stars because I'm a sucker for the prose and for Doug as a character. I can't give it any less. Also, the subtle, lovely craft choices Schmidt almost always makes make him an author worth reading every time.
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on February 21, 2017
If you love a blend of humor, humanity and nostalgia, this book is for you. It is a companion to 'The Wednesday Wars' and follows the life of Doug.

I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Schmidt and frankly making a fool of myself. He is one of my favorite authors, and I was so excited to meet him. He was very kind, and very gracious, and signed my book while I gushed on for far too long.
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on July 31, 2016
As a former teacher, I found so many similarities between Doug Swieteck and students who -- for various reasons -- fall deep into the cracks of formal education. The trite adage of "it takes a village to raise a child" is raised to its best level when Doug's talents are perceived by an assistant in a sleepy library. Life lessons are taught using John James Audubon's beautiful art as the launch pad for Doug's awakening mind.
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