Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

When I think of iconic middle grade writers, Gary Schmidt is one of the first names that pops into my mind. His books have depth and his characters are  complex. The book is set over 40 years ago, yet Holling is a character kids today can still relate to. From rats gone wild to an incident with a pair of tights with feathers on the butt, this book is funny, poignant and unforgettable. A must read for every middle school kid and their parents.

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