Seventh grader Holling Hoodhood has a tough year ahead of him. First of all, his teacher Mrs. baker, keeps giving him the evil eye. Second of all, the class bully keeps threatening to do Number 167 (and you don't even want to know what Number 167 is). Third of all, his father keeps calling him the Son Who is Going to Inherit Hoodhood and Associates. But things are changing, and while reciting his favorite curses from Shakespear's plays, Holling might just find the true meaning of his own story.
There are many strands in this story: the Vietnam War, air raid drills, missing soldiers, a classmate who is a Vietnamese refugee, a rescue, extreme humiliation, chalk-covered cream puffs, yellow tights with feathers in all the wrong places and a bully. In fact, so much happens I wondered whether all the seeds Schmidt planted could flower by the end. To his great credit, they do. Still, while The Wednesday Wars was one of my favorite books of the year, it wasn't written for me. Sometimes books that speak to adults miss the mark for their intended audience. To see if the novel would resonate as deeply with a child, I gave it to an avid but discriminating 10-year-old reader. His laughter, followed by repeated outbursts of "Listen to this!," answered my question.