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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 distincti…

Okay for Now

by Gary D. Schmidt

Overall Book Review:

Overall Review:

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt is everything that a great, middle grade fiction book should be.  It has themes, symbolism, complex and interesting characters, character development, historical context and texture, pitch-perfect voicing, and abundant humor.  If you don’t tear up at least once while reading this book, then you just might want to check your pulse to make sure you have a heart beating in that chest cavity of yours.  Lest you think the book sounds too “literary” for enjoyment by its target audience, think again.  In a household with three males between the ages of 12 and 17, the voting was unanimous…”awesome book”.

I love the main character, Doug Swieteck, and this story is really a hopeful one.  Things can get better, people can change, and “Stats don’t mean a thing.”

Bonus Tip:  Out-of-this-world fabulous audio version voiced by Lincoln Hoppe is available.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations.

Violence/Gore:  A character twists his brothers arm and threatens to break it; a character punches his brother; report of a fight between 2 adults; report that a character hit and beat up another character; written description of a dying animal in a picture; a student punches a teacher; report of multiple fights at school; a character is hit; description, with some details, of drawings of events in Vietnam War; reference to Vietnam war deaths and injuries; a few instances of implied physical abuse by a father; a report describing an act of cruelty to a child by a father.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters kiss and hold hands.

Mature Subject Matter:

Vietnam war and protests; handicaps; cancer; physical and emotional abuse.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Reference to bars and to a character being drunk.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!