Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 4 - 8Y4.977017
2011 National Book Award FinalistAs 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.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published on February 5, 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0544022807
ISBN-13: 9780544022805
25 Book Reviews
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  • bookish5
    bookish5Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:34 am55 stars
    I really love Gary Schmidt's books and this sounds like one that I would particularly enjoy. The plot and the characters sound really interesting and I think it would be fun to read!
    • ocelot
      ocelotTuesday, July 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm33 stars
      Doug Swieteck is a 14-year old and just moved to a new town. He has a bad brother, (a louse) and doesn't really want to do anything. He goes through a lot, and he makes his way to becoming noticeable in the new town.
      • andrewsreads
        Ms. JohnsonMonday, July 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm55 stars
        I liked this book even more than Wednesday Wars! This book isn't really a sequel, but carries on the story of one of the characters in Wednesday Wars. Now we really understand why Doug Swieteck is the way he is in Wednesday Wars. The book made me sad and it made me happy. It made me want to keep reading to see how life would turn out for Doug. Life has many ups and downs for him and as he says just when things start going good, then they seem to turn bad. Somehow, Doug manages to get through it all and you understand that you can't judge a book (or a person) by their cover. Really interesting use of Doug learning to draw Audubon Birds as a part of the story - this may sound boring, but it isn't.
        • edmodo-tumjedsyf3
          L HSunday, June 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm55 stars
          I enjoyed the story whenever Doug would be nice to Lil or the people he delivered groceries. There were also parts where I found myself feeling sad for Doug (like what happened at school or near the end of the book). But...I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next. To me, this is what makes a book really good.
          • sparkling5
            sparkling5Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm22 stars
            The book was okay, but i think boys may enjoy this book a little more than girls. the character made me feel sorry for him because of his loneliness, brother, and dad. The book made me thankful for my life and ho bad my life could be if i was him. LEARNED something from a book :-).
            • dixiestix
              dixiestixThursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm44 stars
              This usually isn't the kind of book that I would read, usually it's fantasy, but I really liked this book. Reading this book made me realize what a nice life I have and what loving parents I have. At first I felt sorry for the main character but when he started collecting the birds I really felt happy for him.
              • pyramid
                pyramidWednesday, May 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm55 stars
                I think the beginning is awesome.i think later and the end is also going to be really really awesome.If you like good books you should read this
                • katofallyra21
                  katofallyra21Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm55 stars
                  I loved this book! I read it in a day and a morning!
                  • katofallyra21
                    katofallyra21Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm55 stars
                    Love this! This is about a boy named Doug who everyone calls, either Thug, or Skinny Delivery Boy. This is a must read! :)
                    • katofallyra21
                      katofallyra21Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm55 stars
                      So cool! I loved this book so much, that I read it all in 1 day and 1 morning!