“Just the sort of book that saves lives by igniting a passion for reading.” —James Patterson
“Reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn.” —The Wall Street Journal
A Michael L. Printz Honor Winner
From the author of Newbery Medal winner Moon Over Manifest comes the odyssey-like adventure of two boys’ incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail.
When Jack Baker’s father sends him from his home in Kansas to attend a boys’ boarding school in Maine, Jack doesn’t know what to expect. Certainly not Early Auden, the strangest of boys. Early keeps to himself, reads the number pi as a story, and refuses to accept truths others take for granted. Jack, feeling lonely and out of place, connects with Early, and the two become friends.
During a break from school, the boys set out for the Appalachian Trail on a quest for a great black bear. As Jack and Early travel deeper into the mountains, they meet peculiar and dangerous characters, and they make some shocking discoveries. But their adventure is only just beginning. Will Jack’s and Early’s friendship last the journey? Can the boys make it home alive?
An ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
A New York Times Editor’s Choice
A New York Times Bestseller
An Indie Pick
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice Selection
A BookPage Best Children’s Book
A Texas Lone Star Reading List Selection
“Just the sort of book that saves lives by igniting a passion for reading.”
The Washington Post, January 1, 2013:
"Clare Vanderpool deftly rows this complex, inventive novel — her most recent since her Newbery-winning 'Moon Over Manifest' — to a tender, surprising and wholly satisfying ending."
The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2013:
"An emotionally believable and moving work of magical realism."
The Boston Globe, June 22, 2013:
"A beautifully written adventure."
The New York Times, January 13, 2013:
"The hallmark of 'Navigating Early' is abundant adventure...The friendship between Jackie and Early and the Morton Hill Academy episodes overall have the flavor of Wes Anderson's delightful summer camp movie, 'Moonrise Kingdom.'"
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2013:
“Readers will find themselves richly rewarded by this satisfying tale.”
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2012:
“This multilayered, intricately plotted story has a kaleidoscopic effect, blurring the lines between reality and imagination, coincidence and fate.”
Starred Review, Booklist, December 15, 2012:
“Newbery Medal-winning author Vanderpool’s sharp, honest narrative, sparkling with the stars of the night sky, pieces together an elaborate, layered plot with precision, weaving multiple threads into a careful, tidy conclusion perfectly suited for those, like Jack and Early, who want to believe.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2012:
““Returning to themes she explored so affectingly in Moon Over Manifest, Newbery Medalist Vanderpool delivers another winning picaresque about memories, personal journeys, interconnectedness—and the power of stories.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013:
"This story of a poignant friendship of two heartbroken boys shifts quickly among genres...moving into territory more often claimed by high fantasy quests, heroic epics, wilderness adventures, and even mysteries. The incorporation of these familiar tropes give the book broad and fascinating appeal, and those that trust Early—and Vanderpool—to lead them through the treacherous woods will be pondering and debating the surreal experience for some time to come."
The Horn Book, March/April 2013:
"While the writing is as minutely observant as it was in the author’s Newbery-winning debut, Moon over Manifest, this book has a stronger trajectory, developed by the classic quest structure that emerges when Vanderpool sends the boys into the Maine wilderness."
WINNER Michael L. Printz Honor Book
WINNER School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
WINNER Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
WINNER Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice