Okay For Now
By Gary Schmidt
Clarion Books, 2011. Fiction.
Okay for Now is a bit heavier than its companion, and is heartbreaking, funny, and sweet all at once. It follows the character of Doug Swieteck, as he moves to a new town in upstate New York. Doug is none too thrilled with the move, as his friends were his escape from his terrible family life. His dad is an abusive alcoholic, and his older brother is recently home from Vietnam and is deeply scarred. Doug soon finds a friend in a strange girl named Lil. She helps him to get comfortable in his new surroundings. Lil also introduces him to the library, which becomes their new hangout- and the site of Doug's artistic awakening. In looking through the library's collection of John Audubon's illustrations, Doug discovers his own drawing abilities. This is significant, as it is the first time Doug has been able to excel at something.
Schmidt hasn't waned in his ability to master young characters and their dialogue. His descriptions are flawless, and bring you into a harsh yet hopeful world. I do think this one is for 5th grade readers or older, as there are some scenes of drinking and abuse that were hard even for me to read.