Next up: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.
Loved this one! Sorry, I’m jumping the gun a bit. On with the summary.
Doug’s life hasn’t been that great; his father’s abusive, his oldest brother’s fighting in Vietnam, his second oldest brother’s a jerk, and now their moving to a small town where everyone judges him based his dysfunctional family’s actions. However, his first day in Marysville, Doug discovers the public library (love this!) and their rare volume of Audubon’s Birds of America. He instantly, if reluctantly, falls in love with the birds in the book and, under the guidance and tutelage of the librarian, starts learning how to draw like Audubon. After that, everything in Doug’s life is compared to those bird and their actions in the plates. When plates from the book start to go missing and Doug discovers that the town council has been selling them off, he vows to get as many of them back as he can.
I listened to this book rather than reading it because I wasn’t sure what to expect from it and a co-worker had recommended the audiobook. The narrator, Lincoln Hoppe, did a great job conveying Doug’s roller-coaster emotions and made me love the book even more. As for the actual story, I loved how you slowly learned more about Doug’s life and the obstacles that he’s having to overcome. The secondary characters are alternately supportive and destructive. Every time that you learned about something horrible about his family, something else happens that redeems them a little. Several characters open up opportunities for Doug that help him develop as a person. Mr. Powell, the librarian, helps him realize his drawing ability, Mrs. Windermere introduces him to the theatre, Lil gets him a job as a delivery boy at her father’s deli/grocery. Every character seems to teach him something about himself.
Anyway, I could go on and on but I’ll just say this, “Go read it!”
Oh and this book was one of the few that I felt really fit in the Intermediate Division. There were quite a few this year that straddled the lines of possibly being older or younger but still ended up in Intermediate so it’s nice to see one that really fits.
Will this book win the Intermediate Division? Who knows, I’m having trouble calling this division.
What I’m reading right now: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), Just Getting Started by Todd Babiak