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The Wednesday Wars

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  19,167 ratings  ·  3,687 reviews
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 tea...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published May 21st 2007 by Clarion Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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this is my second book for the readventurer challenge.

this book is very...sweet. and ordinarily,a sweet book would make me feel like i had chiggers or something else foul crawling under my skin, and its earnest gee-whizzery would make me feel unclean just because of my mental rolodex of words that are more satisfying to say in moments of astonishment or crisis than "gee whiz."

but this one was different. this one was entirely wholesome, yeah, but wholesome and satisfying like fresh-baked bread, a...more
Holling Hoodhood’s got a problem. It’s 1967, and he’s just started seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, and his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. Every Wednesday afternoon, half of the kids in Holling’s class go to Hebrew school and the other half go to St. Adelbert’s for catechism. And Holling, as the only Presbyterian in the class, stays behind with Mrs. Baker.

And Mrs. Baker makes him read Shakespeare. Outside of class.

What follows is a year in Holling’s life, a year of Wednesdays with Mrs...more
A Review in Two Parts

Part One
Ariel, recommended this book to me, and she wrote a fine good review of the book. You can find it by clicking on her name.

I really liked the book, but didn't love it. I think the things I didn't love about the book were me being a crank. For example, the myopic narrator view point of a seventh grader was great; it caught the distortions that a kid sees the world through and the way teachers and others outside of their own circle are depersonalized into roles instead...more
Aug 29, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery
This book is a heartwarming mix of nostalgia, life lessons, beauty, and awkward humor with a nice side of brown…light…perfect cream puffs. And let me tell you; it’s really swell.

Holling Hoodhood is the only kid in the seventh grade who doesn’t have to attend either Temple or Catechism on Wednesday afternoons. No, instead he gets to spend every single Wednesday afternoon with Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts. Each Wednesday she finds new ways to torture him: endless cleaning of chalkboard erasers,...more
At first I thought this book was too young for me. The protagonist is a 7th grader, an age I am far past. It was a bit slow at first and my initial conclusion was: This would be great book for a middle school boy, especially one you want to get interested in Shakespeare, but not so great for the general reader.

And then I kept reading and realized that this was a brilliant, touching and funny book. Schmidt is excellent at making believable, nuanced characters--not something I often see at books a...more
I think I have come to understand what it takes for a book to be awarded Newbery. It seems these Newberry awarded books are just so wholesome, so full of great life lessons, so sweet and touching in a non-nauseating or preachy way. The Wednesday Wars is just like that.

13-year old Holling Hoodhood is in trouble. While his Jewish and Catholic classmates attend religious studies on Wednesday afternoons, he, the only Presbyterian in his class, is forced to spend this time with his English teacher Mr...more
Jan 02, 2008 Christina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Other Librarians
Shelves: kid-books
Oh it's the season to read the books we adults want children to read, and in actual fact they have no interest in doing so. Wednesday Wars sadly falls into that catagory.
It's 1968, and Holling Hoodhood is stuck with his teacher every Wednesday afternoon when the rest of his class attends religious education classes that their respective places of worship.
Holling learns to love Shakespeare, and how to run a good race, and he learns to understand his teacher, Mrs. Baker, and to love his older si...more
Claire Scott
Jan 31, 2008 Claire Scott rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adult readers of kid lit and YA lit
If I had the option to give 6 stars to The Wednesday Wars, I'd do it. I giggled out loud at least 30 times on the bus *and* the train, earning myself a certain public transit notoriety as That Annoying Lady With The Book. And most people didn't even notice me getting teary during the poignant parts. Of course I'd heard glowing reviews of this book, but I didn't love Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, so I was skeptical. But no longer. Gary Schmidt, please write more!

It's 1967-68, and Hollin...more
Hal Johnson
There’s something very pleasant about kids’ books written in the ’60s. They have an assurance that books written in later, more apologetic and hesitant decades lack. They’re usually untroubled by the social upheaval all around them. Hippies may show up here or there, but the books are more likely to be about time travel, or inventions, or mysteries.

This is one of the things you can only learn from consuming texts from that era: that people who lived in the ’60s didn’t know they were living in th...more
I love this book. Love, love, love, love, love, love. Love.

First, it takes place on Long Island, which I didn't even know when I ordered it for the library. So, sure I got an extra chuckle out of Schmidt's description of LI in November than the reader from, say, Nebraska will. But still, this is just an adorable story and you don't have to be stuck on the Long Island Expressway to enoy it. It reminds me of Richard Peck, if Richard Peck wrote about 1960's surburban life and not 1930's Illinois....more
This book was absolutely fabulous! I enjoyed every minute of it. I was very surprised to find out that it was more than just a Jr. High kid putting up with bullies. It was about life and how you deal with different trials no matter what your age is and everyone deals with these trials in different ways. I am totally serious when I say that I laughed and cried and ignored my family until it was done. It is very worthy of the 2008 newberry award.
Duffy Pratt
It oozes charm. In the first half of the book, Schmidt really had me. I absolutely loved everything surrounding the incident with the creampuffs and its aftermath. While the charm remained, the second half lacked a bit of direction. It didn't quite stall, but the plot is a very slender reed here. And outside of Holling and Mrs. Baker, the characters are all pretty thin.

There's also a fairly horrifying aspect here. During this book, Holling does the following: Appears as Ariel in a local performa...more
Without too much effort, you could probably come up with a dozen or so books of the Teacher-Who's-Totally-Mean-At-First-Develops-A-Mentoring-Relationship-With-The-Student-And-There-Are-Some-Life-Lessons-And-A-Bunch-Of-Growing-Up-Happens Genre, but dollars to doughnuts, none would be quite as good or as fun to read as Wednesday Wars. Toads, beetles, bats, I loved it--as the Bard might say. This one could probably work as young as fourth grade.
Apr 22, 2014 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mam, Laurie
Shelves: newbery-honor
Really charming. It was the same kind of nostalgic book as Penny From Heaven, but better-written, funnier, and more real-feeling. (This one has its obvious parallel in a really good episode of The Wonder Years.) This reminded me of older books about boys coming of age, like It's Like This, Cat and Onion John; but I think the language is wholly modern and accessible. I thought it was so much better--tighter, I guess--than Trouble.

Also, a question: looking at the other reviews, and thinking of rev...more
Lisa Nelson
Feb 23, 2010 Lisa Nelson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Doug
Shelves: fiction
I learned two new ways to cuss this month. First, my sister Aimee told me that in the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie instead of cussing they say, "What the cuss!" Love it! Next, Holling Hoodhood the 7th grade narrator of this delightful book learns all about the best kind of cussing by reading, Shakespeare's "The Tempest." He says,"Caliban-the monster in the play-he knew cuss words. Even Doug Swieteck's brother couldn't cuss like that-and he could cuss the yellow off a school bus." There are great scen...more
This is a beautiful book, so I reviewed it for our librarian blog at work.

Holling Hoodhood has many things on his mind. The U.S. is at war with Vietnam. His older sister has painted a flower on her face. His father is trying to run the town’s other architect out of business. And Holling’s teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. You see, every Wednesday after lunch, half of the kids in Holling’s 7th grade class go to the Temple Beth-El for Hebrew School. The other half goes to St. Adelbert’s for Cat...more
All of the people who gave this book five stars can't be wrong, can they? Well, I've been in the minority before, so I guess I'll put myself there again because I really do not think my middle-school students will understand the humor in this book. It reads as an adult's nostalgic look back at his seventh-grade year during the Vietnam War. Although the situations that Holling, the main character, finds himself in are supposed to be funny, I didn't find them to be humorous because of the undercur...more
This book managed to remind me a little, although it did not dissuade me from my general pessimism and dismay, why being a teacher is a wonderful, life changing job. Mrs. Baker is all that one dreams to see in teachers: the intelligence, the power, the endearing strength in the face of all difficult, messy, annoying children, the heartwarming attention only they can bestow when you have no idea they're watching, how much they get to know you, their influence and the mark that they leave. I haven...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Holling Hoodhood's seventh grade year looks like it's going to be a challenge. His teacher Mrs. Baker isn't his biggest fan and he's not even a troublemaker. But he is Presbyterian while all the other kids are Catholic or Jewish. On Wednesday afternoon, all of his classmates leave for classes at the church or the synagogue, leaving him alone with Mrs. Baker. Needless to say Mrs. Baker is not happy with this arrangement. What do you do with one student for the afternoon?

The Wednesday Wars starts...more
When I finished, my first thought? "Oh my goodness, that was delightful." Imagine Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine (in all it's poetical glory...I do love that book) meets The Sandlot (in all it's youthful hilarity...a classic). And that's The Wednesday Wars - and so much more. Schmidt describes the world as seen through the eyes of Holling Hoodhood, a seventh grade boy with a heart of gold. Mix in baseball (and of course the Yankees...we'll forgive Holling that since he is from Long Island), some...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
No stars for you book! And don't you dare question my authority!

This book is so sweet, I'm practically choking on its sweetness, in a good way.

What I liked:

What I loved:
Holling and his friends
Holling and his sister

"Did you find yourself?"
"What?" said my sister.
"Did you find yourself?"
"She found me," I said.

This stuff is gold, guys. Molten, pure gold.

What I didn't like:
How everything sweet happened to everyone except Holling.
But conversely, I also found this to be the best part of the...more
Holling Hoodhood is one of the most enjoyable characters I have read. I love his attitude and his outlook. I also enjoyed the other characters especially his teacher and lunch lady. It is set in 1967, which was a tumultuous year for everyone and especially for a 7th grade boy. He is dealing with so much from family troubles to social to political. Such a clean enjoyable read. I enjoyed watching his relationship with his teacher evolve. What a fabulous teacher and style. I do agree with Holling,...more
Absolutely LOVED this book! Not only was I laughing the whole way through it but I was fascinated by the writing. Now I have to go out and buy it so I can read it again and again and study the writing. And of course enjoy the story. Too funny!

Re-read: Enjoyed it again! This is such a great book.
I loved this book. The boy/narrator was hilarious and sweet. I loved his perspective. I also loved all of the wonderful things that this book taught and made me think about just through the story- it was splendidly written. Brilliant.
Sam Fletcher
I couldn't put it down. Such a pleasure to read!
Brandy Painter
Review originally posted here.

I was a little hesitant to pick up The Wednesday Wars so soon after falling in love with Okay for Now. I don't know why. Schmidt is one of those writers that you can instinctively trust to deliver a good book. While both books share characters they are not really connected and it would be unjust to compare them to one another so I will try not to. Holling and Doug are very different boys with very different stories. They share the same time period, the same school (...more
This book is written like a monthly diary of a seventh grade boy named Holling Hoodhood. It's supposed to be realistic fiction set in 1967, but the events are about as believable as his name. I didn't like it. Here's why.

Everybody around Holling is completely insensitive and cold-hearted, including his father, his mother, his sister, his teacher Mrs. Baker, the school principal, his friends and classmates, Doug Sweiteck's brother, and Micky Mantle. Holling is a complete victim of circumstance. H...more
When someone who tends to make good recommendations to you tells you several times that you will probably love something–listen. I finally picked up Gary D. Schmidt and The Wednesday Wars on audio, and I adored it. From first sentence to last, this book was so full and rich and true in every way. I laughed in a way I haven’t laughed listening to audio in well over a year, and I cried. I cried because it was too touching and real and perfect not to.

Never before have I read a book that more exempl...more
Doug Bradshaw
Sometimes when you read an excellent review of a book or movie, or revisit a time in the past through the eyes of an outstanding writer, or maybe see a wonderful movie like "Forrest Gump," all of the sudden your memory of time in the past becomes fonder, better, like it all makes more sense. This was my experience with this rare find of a book. Having read this book, I love my pre-college years and experiences in Jr. High and High School more than ever, and somehow, like a parent reliving and di...more
On Wednesday afternoons at Camillo Junior High half of the class goes to Hebrew School at Temple Beth-El and the other half goes to Catechism at St. Adelbert’s. But Holling Hoodhood is Presbyterian so he stays with his teacher on Wednesday afternoons. At first the teacher gives him tasks to do like clean the chalk boards and erasers. But soon she has a better idea: she teaches him Shakespeare. Holling thinks this is all intended to torture him. But his teacher’s nefarious plan doesn’t work becau...more
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

More about Gary D. Schmidt...
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“Vengeance is sweet. Vengeance taken when the vengee isn't sure who the venger is, is sweeter still.” 72 likes
“Think of the sound you make when you let go after holding your breath for a very, very long time. Think of the gladdest sound you know: the sound of dawn on the first day of spring break, the sound of a bottle of Coke opening, the sound of a crowd cheering in your ears because you're coming down to the last part of a race--and you're ahead. Think of the sound of water over stones in a cold stream, and the sound of wind through green trees on a late May afternoon in Central Park. Think of the sound of a bus coming into the station carrying someone you love.
Then put all those together.”
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