My Take:
A friend of mine (who teaches middle school
English — bless her) recently alerted me to the author Gary Schmidt and his terrific novels.  In a fit of enthusiasm, I ordered four of his
books (rash, I know) and read ‘The
Wednesday Wars’
(Newberry Honor) first.
‘The Wednesday Wars’ has just about
everything I love in a coming-of-age
novel.  Hilarious in places, affecting
and tender in otherswith the requisite amount of learning and growing and “a-ha” moments experienced by Holling Hoodhood, the 7th
grade protagonist.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Because
the book is set in the late 1960’s
(a time period I don’t often discuss around the dinner table with my kids), many
of the political and cultural references won’t be familiar to them.  This may or may not affect whether they enjoy/understand
it, so I’m thinking it might be great as a read-aloud
(or audio) so that I could take a break when necessary to explain and discuss
some of the issues (big ones – Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, Jr.).
On the
other hand, since the book is written by
a typical 7th grader
– who worries just as much about the 8th
graders yanking his shorts down during track practice as he does about the missing
soldiers in Vietnam – the coming-of-age story
probably speaks for itself, albeit on
a different level to kids than it does to me.
Either
way, I heartily recommend ‘The Wednesday Wars.’
If this
book is any indication, my book shelves have just received an upgrade.
(Next up:
‘Okay for Now’, then ‘Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys,’
then ‘Trouble’). 
Goodreads Summary:
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 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.