Okay for Now
by Gary D. Schmidt
Summary: Doug can't believe his luck. As if things aren't bad enough with a hot-headed father and a brother in Vietnam, now Doug has to start to 8th grade in a new town.... the tiny, "stupid" town of Marysville, New York. But, Doug is about to discover that there is more to this town than meets the eye.
Thoughts: Gary Schmidt's books are all excellent, but Okay for Now is the best yet. The characters are expertly crafted and developed throughout the novel, and the 1960's small town setting is beautifully captured. Both characters and setting are difficult to leave behind after reaching the back cover. Doug tells the story with a realistic voice, a story that is both heartbreaking and hilarious, both harsh and hopeful. The author's use of Audubon's paintings to drive Doug's realizations and growth is exceptional. This is an outstanding novel, one of the very best of the year, and one I hope will soon boast the Newbery Medal!