Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Hardcover: 360 pages
Release date: April 5th, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Goodreads Rating: 4.35
Goodreads Summary: 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.
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Every once in a while, a book that captures your attention will fare to capture your heart while reading it, and much, much long after parting with the characters and the story. I’ve never been too emotional over a book since A Monster Calls and laughed so hard since After Ever After. Yes, I’m placing it alongside two of my most favorite MG books of all time. And every once in a while, a book does something to you that made you want to hang on to every page and savor the moment while it last. OKAY FOR NOW swoops me right in to a story that will be engraved in me for a very, very long time.

What I knew before I started reading this was I am in for a quick and fun read. Since I didn’t so much as glance at the summary, I did not expect that it will be dealing with some heavier issues like abusive fathers and bullying brothers. The main character of this story, Doug Swieteck, and his family moved to Marysville, New York for his father’s new job. He didn’t anticipate to have a new friend and discover a new object of fascination in the local library. Not books but the collection of John James Audubon’s artworks. The birds enthralled him, and so the old librarian taught him to draw the birds and awaken the artist in him. Soon, he found his way around town and came to know the people in it. But Doug’s family is in a whirlwind of problems, affecting every aspect of Doug’s life. 

There’s so much more about Doug and his life than what it seems. Despite his father’s quick hands and his brother’s antagonism towards him, he tries to be a better person so he won’t turn out to be like them. He’s driven and passionate about achieving the things he wanted most. This extraordinary read took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. One moment I’m struggling not to bawl and pull my hair out (thanks to Doug’s father), the next I’m smiling and then laughing so hard. It was one ride where every minute spent was worth it. 
I'm completely smitten!
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