Okay for Now



Okay for Now

Hardcover | Paperback

Okay for Now is the next pick for NPR’s Backseat Book Club!

Readers are encouraged to send in their questions to NPR—what did you think of the book? What would you like to ask Gary Schmidt? Click here to submit your questions, and tune in for Gary’s answers on “All Things Considered” at the end of February!

Join the discussion online, too—tweet your favorite moments and quotes from Okay for Now to @hmhkids and @NPRBackseat and tag your tweets with #ok4now.

Okay for Now is available in paperback February 5, 2013!


As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the "skinny thug" that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam.

Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, 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.


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Burlington, VT
Kindling Words Retreat, January 31–February 3

Dallas, TX
Allen County Library, March 7–9

Cleveland, OH
Kent State University's Virginia Hamilton Conference, April 4–5

Baltimore, MD
SOMIRAC Conference, April 9–10

Fargo, ND
North Dakota Reading Association Conference, Jamestown, ND

Bangor, ME
Mt. Desert Island's Island Readers and Writers Program, April 16–17

Cincinnati, OH
Northern Kentucky University's Bookfest, May 14


Praise for Okay for Now

"This is Schmidt's best novel yet."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Stealthily powerful."
Booklist, starred review

"Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story."
School Library Journal, starred review

Author Video






About the Author

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.



A National Book Award Finalist
A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book
An ALA Notable Children's Book
An ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick
A Children's Choice Award winner
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
An IndieNext Pick
A Barnes & Noble Recommends Selection
NPR Backseat Book Club pick for February 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt