Okay for Now
by Gary Schmidt
2011 Clarion Books
While I enjoy reading some Young Adult titles, I rarely read Intermediate children's books unless the author is J.K. Rowling or Carl Hiaasen. A blurb in Entertainment Weekly pointed me towards this book and I decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did, it is neck and neck with "The Sisters Brothers" for my favorite book of the year.
It is 1968 and Doug has just moved to a small New York town with his abusive father, meek mother, and his always in trouble brother. He goes to the local library and discovers a folio edition of James Audubon's "Birds of America". A helpful librarian, a new female friend, and a new job help Doug to deal with several misfortunes his family has to deal with. Gary Schmidt obviously has a love of baseball, art, and the 1960s, as they are all major parts of this book and "The Wednesday Wars", which this is a very loose sequel to.
"Okay For Now" does not feel like a children's book and some of the things that it deals with may be over their heads, but it is an amazingly well written book. I was shocked at how moved I was by passages in this, as well as how often I laughed out loud. Schmidt has written two previous books that were Newberry Honor titles, i would love to see this be the book that actually wins the award.