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The Wednesday Wars

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  31,827 Ratings  ·  5,365 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 te
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Hardcover, 264 pages
Published May 21st 2007 by Clarion Books
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James Berghout
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Vicki Holling Hoodhood and his teacher, Mrs. Baker. He has a sister and parents and a sort of girlfriend, but they are not pivotal to the plot. You could…moreHolling Hoodhood and his teacher, Mrs. Baker. He has a sister and parents and a sort of girlfriend, but they are not pivotal to the plot. You could say Shakespeare is a character in the book. (less)

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L A i N E Y
Audiobook rating: ★★★★★
Book rating: ★★★★★

“J U S T   S W E L L”

Oh I am so going to miss you ‘let me tell you’ about your life to me, Holling!!

“I never thought being in seven grade would mean so many death threats”

Written so convincingly youthful and full of hearts and humor.

Holling Hoodhood’s journey into seven grade is peppered with misadventures, extremely good luck, self discovery and even Shakespeare. So hilarious and sarcastic and really heartfelt.


► I listened to the audiobook and oh my
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Lucy
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
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karen
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
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Greg
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Catie
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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,
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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
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Clif Hostetler
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
If a junior high aged boy is part of your household, give him this book. He'll love it, and it will do him good. And if you happen to have been in junior high during the year 1968, this book can serve as a reminder of life (and national politics) at that time. In case you don't remember, 1968 is the year that both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.

People today worry about the polarization of American politics. Back in the late 60s things were more polarized, and in a muc
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Bonnie
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-middle-grade
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
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Tatiana
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
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Claire
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Christina
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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JonathanT
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: his-fic
Honestly? This book is pretty much brilliant. It blends humor with emotion in just the right doses. It presents a mostly action-less storyline that's still strangely compelling, and it wields theme like a sword.

But, unfortunately, it's also got pluralistic/humanistic undertones that I wasn't really a fan of. The book has a lot about "finding yourself" and "choosing your own future." The main character ends up trying out elements of a number of different religions and then having emotional, happ
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Anne Bogel
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So good! This book covers middle school drama with humor and wit, with the somber Vietnam War as a backdrop. If you like Konigsburg, you'll love The Wednesday Wars.
Suzanne
Dec 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
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Scott
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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Heathercrow
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Donalyn
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: deep thinkers
One of the best books I have read in a long time. I felt my self reading slower in an attempt to never get to the end.

Mrs. Baker is one of the greatest teacher characters I have met.
Duffy Pratt
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Joshua
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Hannah Mead
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
When a teacher makes you read Shakespeare outside of school, you know she hates you. Throw in some cream puffs and a couple of demented rats, and, well, you have the beginning of a very interesting school year. Plus there’s a war going on that is making things rather complicated. So Holling Hoodhood isn’t exactly looking forward to the upcoming year.
The Wednesday Wars is a highly amusing coming-of-age story that manages to teach some good lessens in between the laughs. I found it really interes
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Emily M
Another reviewer mentioned that this book shows that it was written by a Baby Boomer, and I had the exact same thought while reading. My parents were exactly the age of the protagonist in 1968, and while they remember where they were when they heard MKL Jr had been assassinated, the stories they tell about junior high are all about normal life, not what Walter Cronkite was saying about the Viet Cong on the evening news. I mean, I bet American history teachers everywhere are assigning this to the ...more
Heidi
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
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Lisa Nelson
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Wendy
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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Kricket
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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Amber
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the year of 1967, Holling HoodHood is entering the seventh grade and notices that his English teacher Mrs. Baker hates him. She tries her best to make his life miserable, but with his Dad's Architect firm HoodHood and Associates vying to get the contract for her family's Sporting goods store, all Holling can do is grin and bear it even when she tortures him with Shakespeare. Will he survive? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good audiobook that I borrowed from my local libra
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Teresa Osgood
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2018 Update: Read it out loud with the family. The walls echo with cries of "Toads, beetles, bats" and "Dang wimpy slugs!" Delightful.

The title, and the list of 410 things, set me up to expect a battle of pranks. Instead, this funny book reaches deeper, as Holling serendipitously finds himself in various bad and good (and always awkward) situations, and applies Shakespeare to solve them. Maybe someone needs to make his parents read Shakespeare, too. Amusing and touching, I really enjoyed this.
Lynette
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Man I loved this book. It was just light and fun and funny and nostalgic of childhood. But then it snuck in some great themes and deep thoughts. As a teacher it helped me realize that my students are more capable of considering deep and complex emotions and ideas than I think they are sometimes. This is the perfect summer book if you want something light but still substantial.
Emy
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une vraie pépite que je vous recommande mille fois ❤ ...more
Melissa
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure it's possible for me to love this book more. It proved me wrong and made me cry. Best coming of age story I've read in a loooong time.
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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.

“Vengeance is sweet. Vengeance taken when the vengee isn't sure who the venger is, is sweeter still.” 84 likes
“When gods die, they die hard. It's not like they fade away, or grow old, or fall asleep. They die in fire and pain, and when they come out of you, they leave your guts burned. It hurts more than anything you can talk about. And maybe worst of all is, you're not sure if there will ever be another god to fill their place. Or if you'd ever want another god to fill their place. You don't want the fire to go out inside you twice.” 65 likes
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