Book Review:

Hello!  is here with another great selection for middle grade readers.


Here is the story:

Fourteen-year-old Doug doesn't have much going for him. He just moved to a new town, has no friends, and his older brother is a jerk. As Doug works hard to be more than the thug that people believe him to be, he finds an unlikely ally named Lil. Since she believes in him, he begins to believe in himself--and learn things about himself that he never knew. Through Lil and a connection he has made at the library, Doug finds the strength to endure his life: a town suspicious of him, an abusive father, and his brother, home from Vietnam and forever scarred. Doug learns not only how to survive his existence--but how to thrive in it.

Here is the scoop:

Written by a two-time Newbery Honor winning author, Okay for Now is one of those excellent books that is exceptional in the literary sense, and that teens will find compulsively readable as well. While some of the subject matter is serious, the tone is balanced with a bit of humor that serves to lighten things up. Doug is a flawed character who finds himself and turns his life around. He is a good person stuck in a bad situation; his alcoholic father is physically and verbally abusive, his mother is passive, and his oldest brother returns home from Vietnam emotionally damaged. In the midst of all of this negativity, Doug decides that it is up to him to make his life what he wants it to be, rather than letting his family or his town determine his fate. He takes charge of his life through incredible optimism and an indomitable spirit. While some adults (a P.E. teacher and his principal) are unkind to Doug, others support him. An especially touching friendship that he forges with a librarian changes his life when, inspired by paintings of birds in an Audubon book, Doug learns to draw and discovers his passion for art. With the help of a kind teacher, Doug overcomes his illiteracy. Okay for Now's themes of hope, friendship, community, perseverance, and self-discovery make it an inspiring read that is never over-the-top corny. Although it is a companion book to The Wednesday Wars, it is not necessary to have read the previous book to enjoy this one.