At this late date in life, on the other side of a half century, it is really rare for me to stay up late reading a book, especially a children's book. Even rarer to find out it is very late after putting down the book! But that is exactly what happened with Okay for now by Gary D. Schmidt. This book was reviewed by Voya and given a 5/5 for quality as well as a 4/5 for popularity, and they were so right. Okay is a riveting story of Doug Swieteck's life during the VietNam era in a new middle school in a new town, a really small town, where everyone knows who his dad is, what his brother might have done, where Doug goes and what he does before he can even tell anyone for himself.
As if all this isn't bad enough, Doug has secrets, family secrets, that he tries to keep even from us readers. But they are so obvious, he gives up after awhile, and we find out that his dad has really fast fists and a faster temper. That's why they moved--his dad was fired from his last job after he mouthed off to the boss. Doug hates the stupid Dump they live in, hates the stupid town, and the stupid school, but especially the stupid library with its stupid hours and the stupid pictures on the second floor that he can't forget.
But he likes a really cold Coke on a really hot day, and he likes Lil, whose dad owns Spicer's Deli. Sometimes. And actually he does like the library and Mr. Powell, who is helping him learn to draw from the captivating Audubon plates that fill the display case upstairs. Eventually, he realizes he also likes the good people he has gotten to know in this small town, and they like him back. That's the kind of reality that can change a life. Or a family. This book should win some awards. Not to mention that the librarian is a hero--yeah!~ Tessa 5 stars out of 5