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Synopsis

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.

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.

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The Wednesday Wars
Average rating
5 / 5
April 10th, 2014
It is a pretty good trick to write a funny book. It is just as hard of a feat to write an important book. And writing a book that is just the right style to fit on both a grown-up’s bookshelf and a child’s bookshelf is hard to beat. The Wednesday Wars is a freaking hat trick. The book will suit both grown-ups and teenagers alike. It is laugh-out-loud funny and yet as serious as a heart attack – and at least one point of the book I wanted to stand up and cheer – but they probably would have thrown me out of the coffee shop I was reading in. The Wednesday Wars is set in 1967. We’re talking Viet Nam, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, marching on Washington and the threat of nuclear warfare. At the same time we manage to cover the works of Shakespeare, naked bigotry, cross-country running, baseball, man against rat hand-to-hand combat and teenage runaways. The book is multilevel and complex and absolutely wonderful. The protagonist, Holling Hoodhood, is a 7th grade student with a serious problem. His teacher hates him. Wait a minute. That isn’t right. His teacher freaking HATES him. You don’t believe me, ask Holling Hoodhood. "Of all of the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with a heat whiter than the sun." That’s the opening sentence. I’m not going to quote any more. If you want to read any more quotes go and buy the book. Don’t make me come after you and read Shakespeare in your ear. The book will take the reader on a journey through a school year and a series of self-discovering life-altering events. It is poignant and powerful, complex and complete. The Wednesday Wars is the real deal and the total package. It hit all my buttons and I yelled Geronimo and jumped right in. You want to know what this book is about? I can sum its theme up in a few short words borrowed from Polonius - “Too thine own self be true.” I warned you about that Shakespeare. This book is a winner. Yours in storytelling, Steve Vernon
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