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Extended Audio Sample Navigating Early, by Clare Vanderpool Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00135869565217 out of 54.00135869565217 out of 54.00135869565217 out of 54.00135869565217 out of 54.00135869565217 out of 5 4.00 (736 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Clare Vanderpool Narrator: Robbie Daymond, Mark Bramhall, Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Vanderpool delivers another winning picaresque about memories, personal journeys, interconnectedness—and the power of stories.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Readers will find themselves richly rewarded by this satisfying tale.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Just the sort of book that saves lives by igniting a passion for reading.
    James Patterson

    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."
  • “Clare Vanderpool deftly rows this complex, inventive novel.”

    Washington Post

  • “This multilayered, intricately plotted story has a kaleidoscopic effect, blurring the lines between reality and imagination, coincidence and fate.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A 2014 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tim Wilson | 9/7/2016

    " Listened to this book with my 11 year old son on a road trip. We loved it! Engaging coming of age book for boys. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Melissa LaSalle | 2/20/2014

    " Had heard such great things about Vanderpool's latest YR novel. Maybe if I were a ten year old boy I would have connected more with the characters, but I found the plot generally un-believable, especially when the "pirates" entered the scene. In my opinion, Vanderpool had some interesting character premises but pushed them too far, tried to accomplish too much, and lost her reader's attention in the process. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Susan | 2/6/2014

    " Really more like a 3.5 stars. No question the writing is beautiful. I also really enjoyed the friendship between Early & Jack...two boys both trying to find their way in a world of emotional confusion brought on by loss. Being from Maine, the setting doesn't ring true...ocean & mountain wilderness are not in close proximity. The beginning and ending were both well paced but it felt very "sloggy" (is that word?) in the middle. I know I'll be in the minority but after loving Moon Over Manifest so much, I felt let down with this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carol Schmidt | 1/31/2014

    " Kind of an odd story, but did like it. Three stars only tho. "

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