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2 Beaverton Children's Young Adult- General
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Okay for Now

by

Okay for Now Cover

ISBN13: 9780547152608
ISBN10: 0547152604
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One: The Arctic Tern Plate CCL Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York Yankees baseball cap. Im not lying. He gave it to me. To me, Doug Swieteck. To me. Joe Pepitone and Horace Clarke came all the way out on the Island to Camillo Junior High and I threw with them. Me and Danny Hupfer and Holling Hoodhood, who were good guys. We all threw with Joe Pepitone and Horace Clarke, and we batted too. They sang to us while we swung away: "Hes a batta, hes a battabatta- batta, hes a batta . . ." That was their song. And afterward, Horace Clarke gave Danny his cap, and Joe Pepitone gave Holling his jacket (probably because he felt sorry for him on account of his dumb name), and then Joe Pepitone handed me his cap. He reached out and took it off his head and handed it to me. Just like that. It was signed on the inside, so anyone could tell that it was really his. Joe Pepitones. It was the only thing I ever owned that hadnt belonged to some other Swieteck before me. I hid it for four and a half months. Then my stupid brother found out about it. He came in at night when I was asleep and whipped my arm up behind my back so high I couldnt even scream it hurt so bad and he told me to decide if I wanted a broken arm or if I wanted to give him Joe Pepitones baseball cap. I decided on the broken arm. Then he stuck his knee in the center of my spine and asked if I wanted a broken back along with the broken arm, and so I told him Joe Pepitones cap was in the basement behind the oil furnace. It wasnt, but he went downstairs anyway. Thats what a chump he is. So I threw on a T-shirt and shorts and Joe Pepitones cap—which was under my pillow the whole time, the jerk—and got outside. Except he caught me. Dragged me behind the garage. Took Joe Pepitones baseball cap. Pummeled me in places where the bruises wouldnt show. A strategy that my . . . is none of your business. I think he kept the cap for ten hours—just long enough for me to see him with it at school. Then he traded it to Link Vitelli for cigarettes, and Link Vitelli kept it for a day—just long enough for me to see him with it at school. Then Link traded it to Glenn Dillard for a comb. A comb! And Glenn Dillard kept it for a day—just long enough for me to see him with it at school. Then Glenn lost it while driving his brothers Mustang without a license and with the top down, the jerk. It blew off somewhere on Jerusalem Avenue. I looked for it for a week. I guess now its in a gutter, getting rained on or something. Probably anyone who walks by looks down and thinks its a piece of junk. Theyre right. Thats all it is. Now. But once, it was the only thing I ever owned that hadnt belonged to some other Swieteck before me. I know. That means a big fat zero to anyone else. I tried to talk to my father about it. But it was a wrong day. Most days are wrong days. Most days he comes home red-faced with his eyes half closed and with that deadly silence that lets you know hed have a whole lot to say if he ever let himself get started and no one better get him started because theres no telling when hell stop and if he ever did get started then pretty Mr. Culross at freaking Culross Lumber better not be the one to get him started because hed punch pretty Mr. Culrosss freaking lights out and he didnt care if he did lose his job over it because its a lousy job anyway. That was my father not letting himself get started. But I had a plan. All I had to do was get my father to take me to Yankee Stadium. Thats all. If I could just see Joe Pepitone one more time. If I could just tell him what happened to my baseball cap. Hed look at me, and hed laugh and rough up my hair, and then hed take off his cap and hed put it on my head. "Here, Doug," Joe Pepitone would say. Like that. "Here, Doug. You look a whole lot better in it than I do." Thats what Joe Pepitone would say. Because thats the kind of guy he is. That was the plan. And all I had to do was get my father to listen. But I picked a wrong day. Because there arent any right days. And my father said, "Are you crazy? Are you freaking crazy? I work forty-five hours a week to put food on the table for you, and you want me to take you to Yankee Stadium because you lost some lousy baseball cap?" "Its not just some lousy—" Thats all I got out. My fathers hands are quick. Thats the kind of guy he is. Who knows how much my father got out the day he finally let himself get started saying what he wanted to say to pretty Mr. Culross and didnt even try to stop himself from saying it. But whatever he said, he came home with a pretty good shiner, because pretty Mr. Culross turned out to have hands even quicker than my fathers. And pretty Mr. Culross had one other advantage: he could fire my father if he wanted to. So my father came home with his lunch pail in his hand and a bandage on his face and the last check he would ever see from Culross Lumber, Inc., and he looked at my mother and said, "Dont you say a thing," and he looked at me and said, "Still worried about a lousy baseball cap?" and he went upstairs and started making phone calls. Mom kept us in the kitchen. He came down when we were finishing supper, and Mom jumped up from the table and brought over the plate shed been keeping warm in the oven. She set it down in front of him. "Its not all dried out, is it?" he said. "I dont think so," Mom said. "You dont think so," he said, then took off the aluminum foil, sighed, and reached for the ketchup. He smeared it all over his meat loaf. Thick. Took a red bite. "Were moving," he said. Chewed. "Moving?" said my mother. "To Marysville. Upstate." Another red bite. Chewing. "Ballard Paper Mill has a job, and Ernie Eco says he can get me in." "Ernie Eco," said my mother quietly. "Dont you start about him," said my father. "So it will begin all over again." "I said—" "The bars, being gone all night, coming back home when youre—" My father stood up. "Which of your sons will it be this time?" my mother said. My father looked at me. I put my eyes down and worked at what was left of my meat loaf. *** It took us three days to pack. My mother didnt talk much the whole time. The first morning, she asked only two questions. "How are we going to let Lucas know where weve gone?" Lucas is my oldest brother who stopped beating me up a year and a half ago when the United States Army drafted him to beat up Vietcong instead. Hes in a delta somewhere but we dont know any more than that because he isnt allowed to tell us and he doesnt write home much anyway. Fine by me. My father looked up from his two fried eggs. "How are we going to let Lucas know where weve gone? The U.S. Postal Service," he said in that kind of voice that makes you feel like you are the dope of the world. "And didnt I tell you over easy?" He pushed the plate of eggs away, picked up his mug of coffee, and looked out the window. "Im not going to miss this freaking place," he said. Then, "Are you going to rent a truck?" my mother asked, real quiet. My father sipped his coffee. Sipped again. "Ernie Eco will be down with a truck from the mill," he said. My mother didnt ask anything else. My father brought home boxes from the A&P on one of those summer days when the sky is too hot to be blue and all it can work up is a hazy white. Everything is sweating, and youre thinking that if you were up in the top—I mean, the really top—stands in Yankee Stadium, there might be a breeze, but probably there isnt one anywhere else. My father gave me a box that still smelled like the bananas it brought up from somewhere that speaks Spanish and told me to put in whatever I had and I should throw out anything I couldnt get in it. I did—except for Joe Pepitones cap because its lying in a gutter getting rained on, which you might remember if you cared. So what? So what? Im glad were going. After the first day of packing, the house was a wreck. Open boxes everywhere, with all sorts of stuff thrown in. My mother tried to stick on labels and keep everything organized—like all the kitchen stuff in the boxes in the kitchen, and all the sheets and pillowcases and towels in the boxes by the linen closet upstairs, and all the sturdiest boxes by the downstairs door for my fathers tools and junk. But after he filled the boxes by the downstairs door, he started to load stuff in with the dishes, stuff like screwdrivers and wrenches and a vise that he dropped on a stack of plates, and he didnt even turn around to look when he heard them shatter. But my mother did. She lifted out the pieces she had wrapped in newspaper, and for a moment she held them close to her. Then she dropped them back in the box like they were garbage, because thats all they were now. Garbage. Like Joe Pepitones cap. On the third day, Ernie Eco came down with the truck, and me and my brother and Ernie Eco and my father loaded the beds and the couch and the table and chairs—the stove and the refrigerator belonged to the guy we rented the house from. After that we loaded all the boxes. My mother had dug up the garden shed worked on and put the plants into pots and watered them for the trip, but Ernie Eco said there wasnt any room for them and even if there were he might have to make a quick turn and theyd flip over and get the truck all dirty and so my father said to leave them and we should all get in the car since we were ready to go. "Not yet," my mother said. We all looked at her, kind of startled. She went back to the pots, all lined up on the front porch, and she took three in her arms and carried them to the McCall house next door. Then she came back, took up another three, and carried them across the street to the Petronis. When she came back again, I started up to the porch to help but my father smacked me on the shoulder. "If she wants to do it, let her do it herself," he said. Ernie Eco laughed, the jerk. So my mother carried all the pots, three by three, and put them by houses up and down the street. People started coming out on their stoops and theyd take the pots from her and put them down and theyd hug my mother and then shed turn away. So thats what I was doing—watching my mother give away her plants—when Holling Hoodhood came up the street carrying a brown paper bag. Id never seen him on this side of town before. He waved. "Hey, Doug," he said. "Hey," I said. "Mr. Swieteck." My father nodded. He watched my mother. He wanted to get going. A minute passed. My mother was back up on the porch, gathering another armload. "I heard you were moving," said Holling. "You heard right," I said. He nodded. "No eighth grade at Camillo Junior High." "I guess not." He nodded again. Another minute passing. "So," he said, "I brought you something to remember us by." He held up the bag and I took it. It wasnt heavy. "Thanks," I said. Another minute. "Where are you moving?" "Marysville." "Oh," said Holling. He nodded like hed heard of it, which he hadnt since no one has ever heard of it unless he lives there, which hardly anyone does. "Marysville." "In the Catskills," I said. He nodded. "Itll be cooler up in the mountains." I nodded. "Maybe." He rubbed his hands together. "You take care of yourself, Doug," he said. "Say hi to everyone for me," I said. "I will." He held out his hand. I took it. We shook. "So long, Doug." "So long." And he turned, walked across the street, said hi to my mother. She handed him one of her plants. He took it, and then he was gone. Like that. "Go get in the car," said my father. I went over to the car, but before I got in, I opened up Hollings brown paper bag and took out what was inside. A jacket. A New York Yankees jacket. I looked at the signature on the inside of the collar. You know whose jacket this was, right? I put it on. I didnt care how white the sky was, or how much the whole world was sweating. It felt like the breezes on the top stands of Yankee Stadium. "What a stupid thing to give you in the summer," said my father. I zipped up the jacket. "Get in the freaking car!" Didnt I tell you that Holling Hoodhood is a good guy? *** When we got to Marysville, around noon, we found the house that Ernie Eco had set up for us past the Ballard Paper Mill, past the railroad yard, and past the back of a bunch of stores and an old bar that looked like no one who went in there went in happy. The house was smaller than the one wed had, so I had to room with my brother still—and there wasnt a bedroom for Lucas if he came home. My brother said hed sleep on a couch in the living room at night so he didnt have to room with a puke, but my father said he didnt want him hanging around like he owned the place or something. So he moved his stuff up with me. Terrific. The first thing I had to do was find a place to hide the jacket, which my brother didnt know was Joe Pepitones. If he had known, hed have ripped it off me before wed crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge. But he would find out. He always found out. So I kept it on, even though Holling Hoodhood was wrong and it was just as hot in Marysville as on Long Island and I was melting inside so bad that I was afraid Id sweat Joe Pepitones signature off. My father said he was going with Ernie Eco to the Ballard Paper Mill to sign some forms so he could begin work on Monday, and my mother said she didnt think the Ballard Paper Mill would be open today, on a Saturday, and my father said what did she know about anything and left with Ernie Eco. So my brother and I carried all the furniture in, and I carried all the boxes in, except my mother told me to leave the kitchen boxes on the truck until she got the kitchen clean enough so a human being could eat in there without getting sick—which she hadnt finished doing by the time my father got home. It turned out to be one of the wrong days. Again. Of course. My father couldnt figure out why my mother hadnt gotten the kitchen ready. He couldnt figure out why we hadnt gotten the kitchen boxes off the truck. He couldnt figure out why my mother hadnt gotten groceries yet. All she had to do was walk over to Spicers Deli! He couldnt figure out why there wasnt food on the table for lunch. She had time enough to get the crucifix up in the hall, but she didnt have time enough to make a couple of sandwiches? It was already two oclock! And he really couldnt figure out why Mr. Big Bucks Ballard was only going to give him a salary that was barely half of what Ernie Eco had promised. I told him we didnt have lunch yet because how were we supposed to know where Spicers Deli was and he had taken the car anyway and Mom had to clean up the kitchen because he sure wouldnt have wanted to eat in this dump before she did that. My father turned to look at me, and then his hand flashed out. He has quick hands, like I told you. "Why dont you just stay here in your new jacket and get those boxes off the truck and into the nice, clean kitchen while we go out to find a diner?" he said. He told my mother to go get in the car, and my brother too—who smirked and swung like he was going to hit my other eye—and then they were gone, and I was left alone in The Dump. I went down to the basement and looked around. There was only a single light bulb hanging, and it shone maybe fifteen watts. Maybe ten. A huge octopus of a furnace reached across most of the ceiling, and cobwebs hung on its tentacles, drifting up when I walked beneath them. Under the stairs it was open and dry and dark—a few old paint cans piled on top of each other, a couple of broken window frames, something dead that once had fur. I looked around and found a nail—you can always find a nail in an old basement—and hammered it in behind one of the stairs. Thats where I hung Joe Pepitones jacket. Then I got those boxes off the truck. And after that, I went out to explore the great metropolis of Marysville, New York. Terrific.

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

Beverly B, August 4, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Okay For Now is a dark, sometimes sad, often witty, very realistic coming of age story with an optimistic ending. The relationships between protagonist, Doug, and the townspeople he meets on his daily grocery deliveries are engaging and entertaining, especially his humorous relationship with the town's notorious grumpy old lady, Mrs. Windermere. Doug is the youngest son of a violently abusive alcoholic father and an enabling mother. After his father gets fired from yet another job, the family moves to a small factory town and into a run down house on the wrong side of the tracks. The secrets he thinks he must keep, and the lies he thinks he must tell, make it almost impossible for Doug to fit in or make friends. Like many children of alcoholics, Doug uses anger and bitterness to keep people from getting too close and maybe discovering his secrets. Luckily for Doug, there are a couple people in town who persevere through his anger to connect with him - classmate, Lillian and librarian, Mr. Powell. Readers of Gary D. Schmidt's companion novel, The Wednesday Wars, know what will follow. Mr. Powell recognizes Doug's great talent for drawing and takes Doug on as an art student. Lil recognizes that Doug isn't really mean, just lonely, and gets him a job at her Dad's store. She also recognizes that his snarky comments reveal him to be almost as smart as she is which she sees as an entertaining challenge. Although the writing style is appropriate for middle grade readers, the beautiful symbolism of John James Audubon's drawings will be way over their heads, and the excellent descriptions of Audubon's masterful technique will probably bore them. What will keep even reluctant readers engaged is determination to create a happy life for himself, even if the universe is out to stop him. The surprise twist in the crisis event will have many laughing out loud.
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amywick, January 30, 2012 (view all comments by amywick)
Loved this even more than Wednesday Wars. Tied up a bit to neat at the end, but I do like a happy ending!
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Diane E, January 20, 2012 (view all comments by Diane E)
A beautiful book - engaging, exciting, and funny. I wept and laughed out loud. Well-crafted characters and an art lesson as well!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780547152608
Author:
Schmidt, Gary D.
Publisher:
Clarion Books
Author:
Levine, Kristin
Author:
Phillips, Gin
Author:
Fleming, David
Author:
Pitchford, Dean
Subject:
Historical - Europe
Subject:
Fairy Tales & Folklore - Single Title
Subject:
Historical - United States - General
Subject:
Family - General
Subject:
Historical - United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Animals - Birds
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Subject:
Situations / Friendship
Subject:
Family - Parents
Subject:
Children s-Historical Fiction-U.S. 20th Century
Subject:
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 6
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b+w illustrations
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.88 lb
Age Level:
08-12

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Okay for Now Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Clarion Books - English 9780547152608 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This companion to The Wednesday Wars follows the formula of Schmidt's Newbery Honor winner with less success. Doug Swieteck, a prankster in the previous book, has graver problems than Holling Hoodhood did, making the interplay of pathos and slapstick humor an uneasy fit. In summer 1968, the Swietecks leave Long Island for the Catskills, where Doug's father has found work. Doug's mother (like Holling's) is kind but ineffectual; Mr. Swieteck is a brutish jerk. His abuse of his three sons, one of whom is currently in Vietnam, happens mostly offstage, but one episode of unthinkable cruelty is recounted as a flashback to explain why Doug refuses to take off his shirt in gym class. Doug does make two key friends: Lil, whose father owns the deli for which Doug becomes delivery boy, and the less fleshed-out Mr. Powell, a librarian who instantly sees Doug's potential as an artist. There are lovely moments, but the late addition of an implausible subplot in which Lil, who has never shown an interest in acting, is drafted for a role in a Broadway play, seems desultory considering the story's weightier elements. Ages 10 — 14. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWxyz LLC)
"Review" by , "This is Schmidt's best novel yet — darker than The Wednesday Wars and written with more restraint, but with the same expert attention to voice, character and big ideas." (Starred Review)
"Review" by , "Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story." (Starred Review)
"Review" by , "The book is exceptionally well written. Schmidt creates characters that will remain with the reader long after the book is done. Doug's voice is unforgettable as he tries to help and protect his mom....While there is much stacked against him, he is a character filled with hope that the reader cannot help but root for. Push this one on readers; they will not be sorry....Schmidt writes a journal-type story with a sharp attention to detail, patterns in the story line, and an unexpected twist at the end."
"Synopsis" by , In this stunning novel, Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
"Synopsis" by ,

“Henry Smiths father told him that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.”

But Trouble comes careening down the road one night in the form of a pickup truck that strikes Henrys older brother, Franklin. In the truck is Chay Chouan, a young Cambodian from Franklins preparatory school, and the accident sparks racial tensions in the school—and in the well-established town where Henrys family has lived for generations. Caught between anger and grief, Henry sets out to do the only thing he can think of: climb Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, which he and Franklin were going to climb together. Along with Black Dog, whom Henry has rescued from drowning, and a friend, Henry leaves without his parents knowledge. The journey, both exhilarating and dangerous, turns into an odyssey of discovery about himself, his older sister, Louisa, his ancestry, and why one can never escape from Trouble.

"Synopsis" by ,
Though he thinks of himself as a cowboy, Tommy is really a bully.  He's always playing cruel jokes on classmates or stealing from the store. But Tommy has a reason: life at home is tough. His abusive mother isn't well; in fact, she may be mentally ill, and his sister, Mary Lou, is in the hospital badly burned from doing a chore it was really Tommy's turn to do. To make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou's paper route. But the paper route also becomes the perfect way for Tommy to investigate his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.

Tommy is shocked to learn that one of his neighbors could be a communist, and soon fear of a communist in this tight-knit community takes hold of everyone when Tommy uses the paper to frame a storeowner, Mr. McKenzie. As Mr. McKenzie's business slowly falls apart and Mary Lou doesn't seem to get any better, Tommy's mother's abuse gets worse causing Tommy's bullying to spiral out of control.

Poignantly written, Kristin Levine proves herself a master of gripping and affecting historical fiction.

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