• $7.99

Publisher Description

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.

April 5
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Grades 5-7

Customer Reviews

Lmreynolds ,


This book is brilliant! Excellent story of love, healing, friendship, and forgiveness. I couldn’t put this down. Watching the characters change and heal was amazing. There are so many little moments that wouldn’t be cool if you just read them by themselves, but with the background from the rest of the story they’re beautiful. I cried a lot, laughed a lot, and was so moved. I also loved how it was written so that you really could believe a teenage boy wrote it, but at the same time the style was beautiful. This book is so sweet! I recommend it super highly! Maybe my favorite book.

James Piccirillo ,

Great book

Honestly a great book, and it’s very emotional. Had this as a school summer reading book and it was great, you should definitely read this. It’s like I couldn’t put it down, and i finished the book before i even planned to. To sum things up, this is a must read.

Scottish Highlander ,


Awesome book! Tres Bon!

More Books by Gary D. Schmidt