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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt

In case you haven't noticed, this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I haven't posted about it because I found myself irrationally disappointed that not only was I not shortlisted in anything, I wasn't even nominated in anything. I took the grouchy old lady stance and ignored the whole shebang (ok, not completely, I did nominate people and I voted.) Without getting completely anti-social, I do feel that the awards part of it really is a popularity contest. This isn't to say that I wouldn't have loved one, I totally would have, but the big get bigger, ya know? Anyway, putting my sour grapes aside, I really have enjoyed all the work the bloggers have put into the daily blog topics and today's topic caught my attention.

Today we encourage you to blog about a book you read only because you discovered it on another book blog. Preferably, this will be a book you loved! You might also write a bit about the blog you discovered it on!

Well! Just like night I finished reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt. It was completely and totally excellent and I only have Janssen at Everyday Reading to blame. Janssen gave the book a 10 out of 10, which made me add it to my list immediately. I get a lot of recommendations from her- Sarah Dessen being the biggie, but there are others. I even created a category for her on my Goodreads account. She has yet to steer me wrong.

So the book. The Wednesday Wars is really a little bit about everything, but I'll try to summarize. Holling Hoodhood is in 7th grade (did I mention this book can be found in the juvenile section of my library?) and this year he has Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts. Holling is the lone Presbytarian in his class, which is a shame because every Wednesday afternoon all the Catholics and Jews load up and go off to religious classes leaving him alone with Mrs. Baker. To fill all this one-on-one time, they study Shakespeare (see how much she hates his guts?)

That doesn't begin to address all that the book is about but it would take me all day to detail the plot for you. What you need to know is that it is a terrific book. It is funny and sad, silly and serious, there are bomb drills (it takes place during the Vietman war) and giant rats, roses and tailfeathers. There is a lot about being a kid and a little romance, of both the young adult and adult adult kind. It is a very well done coming of age story and like Janssen I could recommend this book to everyone I know.

Other coming of age stories I've reviewed that you might enjoy:

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon (same era, same age boy)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (finding out that your family isn't as you thought)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

What coming of age book do you love? Are you a die hard fan of The Catcher in the Rye? (For the record, I am not.) Do you think that term is used too much with young adult novels, or do you think most YA novels are essentially coming of age? Do you not read any YA at all? (If you don't, you should still read this!)

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt
272 pages


  1. I'm a blog reader, not a writer, and I agree with your assessment that it just looks like a popularity contest. I'm not saying that those who receive awards do not put out quality blogs, but I just don't pay any attention to the awards. For the record, you and Trish (Trish's Reading Nook) write my favorites. You both read across many genres and I enjoy the glimpses into your personal lives. It's just the right balance for me. (Of course, the fact that I agree with most of your reviews might have colored my opinion!) If you or Trish highly recommend a book, it goes on my Amazon Wish List. I don't often comment when I stop by your blog, so I just wanted you to know today, in light of your post, that you are appreciated.

  2. Thank you! I hesitated to even say anything, but it started to feel like the elephant in the room to me. I'm glad you enjoy the blog, it does mean something when someone says it. I wasn't actually fishing for compliments in my post though!

    Be sure to add The Wednesday Wars to your list, it really was great.

  3. We enjoy your blog posts over here at the Library. And we would like to mention that Gary Schmidt will be at Festival of Books in Deadwood October 2-4.

    The Rapid City Public Library
    (specifically, John Pappas - Outreach Coordinator)

  4. I, too, wasn't shortlisted or nominated or anything...and yes, the popular blogs just get more popular. And, those blogs are wonderful, but there are so many out there that receive no attention at all. So, there's my "sour grapes moment", too.
    I have had The Wednesday Wars on my stack for soooo long. It might have to move up a bit.

  5. Tina, It is really EXCELLENT, you should move it up.

    I am in no way saying that the ones who are winning aren't great, they are! There are just a lot of little guys out there too.

    RCPL! Hi! Thanks for stopping in and letting me know he'll be there. That alone will make me want to go to the Festival. I LOVED this book. You should really have some bloggers on your website, btw, and if you're looking for someone local I can make an suggestion!

  6. Once again Lisa you have captured my inner thoughts perfectly! I did feel like the awards were a popularity contest and perhaps a bit of cronyism was also involved. On the other hand I agree that many of the shortlisted and winning blogs are great, but there are also many un-hyped blogs out there that are just as good if not better than some of the finalists. Now I loved getting a nomination, but I knew I wasn't a big enough name to get further than that.

    I have been busily visiting new blogs this week though, and may find some new favorites. I haven't really been participating in BBAW because this week is yearly a busy week for me. I don't have time - plus I have a head cold and don't much feel like making time, LOL!

  7. Oh my dear. Does it make you feel any better that I've been disappointed with many of the winners? Although--I was happy to see Natasha win kidlit since I voted for her there and THRILLED to see Nymeth win best reviews.

    I've had Wednesday Wars on my list for quite some time now but haven't picked it up. I was kind of hoping I could read it and pass it to my brother. Do you think it's too old for a 13 year old?

  8. Your post concerns me because I did nominate you for something. Although, I don't think they notified all those that were nominated in some of the categories. I nominated you for best Commentor.

  9. I really want to read The Wednesday Wars because I read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by the same author and just loved it.

  10. Isn't it ironic that BBAW is making some of us kind of roll our eyes at the big blogs? Seems like not exactly the reaction they were probably going for :)

  11. I'm sorry you were upset about not being nominated. I was only nominated because I submitted myself. I know, I know. ::Gasp:: But the rules said I could and I knew my feelings would have been hurt had I not been nominated so I just solved the problem myself (and admitted to it on my blog). Of course, reading subsequent commentaries elsewhere about people thinking it was terrible of people to nominate themselves made me feel badly too, so I guess it was a no win situation for me. :-P Anyway, although you weren't looking for compliments, I think you have a lovely blog and I always enjoy reading it. So there.

    And finally, to be more on topic, this sounds like a delightful book. Might have to go out and add it to my kids' shelves in the hopes that they'll read it at some point (and in the meantime, I'll read it myself).

  12. You and Janssen are both in my top 10 Goodreads kindred spirits list, so I will check this book out!

  13. I'm all a bit 'meh' with the BBAW. It's a nice idea and a lot of time and effort is put into it, but I think it's more about voting for who whose name you recognise when it comes to voting.

    I didn't nominate anyone. Didn't feel up for it. If I had, you would have made my list.

  14. Oooo! Bloggers on our website would be cool. We currently have a blog but it is primarily focused on Rapid City local information, employment links and trending topics.

    But any suggestions of local bloggers would be more than welcomed. Send them via twitter @RapidCityPublib

    BTW, the RCPL blog is

    John Pappas - Outreach Coordinator
    Rapid City Public Library

  15. Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry. I don't even know what to say. I must admit that I have been surprised with some of the shortlisted bloggers/winners. Even my own kidlit win makes me feel a bit guilty. I feel like I'm an imposter a bit. I have enjoyed the other aspects of BBAW the most. The posts, interviews, etc., but the awards are nice too.

    As far as this book. Yep, read it. Liked it although I didn't love it. And I love Janssen!

  16. Just finished Wednesday Wars on your recommendation -- you were totally right! I absolutely loved this book. Thanks! (Much better writing than half the books we read in my local book club that are for adults)


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