This year's Battle of the Kids' Books was chosen last week, and the winner is Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. To read about all the head to head matches in this competition, click HERE. I picked Wonderstruck to win, but it didn't even go to the finals! This book is a fantastic choice, though.
Summary from Titlewave: Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library.
Main character Doug Swieteck doesn not have the greatest of lives, considering he had to move with his family to the tiny town of Marysville (reminds me of Stranded in Boringsville) where he doesn't have friends or a safe place he can go when all heck is breaking loose at home - and it often is. What I think the summary should have said, and doesn't, is this: A story of how one good friend, art and the library can save someone's life. I believe this is what happened to Doug, an it has happened in in real life to countless kids. Not all in the same way exactly, but all in the same way in that many, many kids find refuge in these three things- libraries, art and a friend.
The book sounds like it would be a downer from these descriptions, but I really found it to be much more uplifting than depressing. It has a lot of funny parts and so many great moments that it is sure to leave you feeling positive and thinking deeply about what's important in life.
I hope you'll have a chance to read this fantastic book, winner of this year's SLJ Battle of the Kids' Books.