Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best of 2011

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed and recommended by Burbank Public Library staff during 2011 for your consideration:

Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now, a book written for children, is my favorite book of 2011 (reviewed in July on this blog). The voice Gary Schmidt has created for his young narrator Doug Swieteck is a remarkable achievement. Doug is a young teenager who finds himself pulled away from his friends on Long Island to be stranded in a small town in upstate New York where, with the help of a dangerous friend and drinking buddy, his ne’er-do-well father has found a new job. Doug’s father is cynical and self-pitying. The world is out to get him. He is physically abusive to his sons. Doug is the youngest son. An older brother has a reputation as a juvenile delinquent, and his eldest brother is away serving in the army in Vietnam. Doug lives in the belief that things are generally rotten, and if they seem to be better for awhile, it is only because fate is setting you up for a fall. His toughness and cynicism mask a heart-breaking vulnerability as he goes about trying to find a place for himself in the small town of Marysville. This is a hopeful novel about the transformative power a supportive community, adults who care, and friends can give to a young person’s life. It is Schmidt’s best book to date, and it’s my hope it will be chosen for the Newbery Award.

Reviewed by Hubert

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