Thursday, August 14

Navigating Early

Navigating Early
Clare Vanderpool

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-0385742092
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Date of publication: January 8, 2013
Age: Grades 5 and up
Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: autism, journey, death, belief, family

Award: Printz Honor (2014)

WWII has just ended and with the unexpected death of his mother, Jack Baker has just been shipped from Kansas to a boarding school in Maine where he encounters a strange boy named Early Auden. Early is an orphan living in the school, attending classes as he pleases. He also counts jelly beans to calm down, only listens to Billy Holiday when it's raining, and can calculate the digits in pi through images and color. Currently obsessed with finding the Great Appalachian Bear, the Jack goes with Early on a journey that will test their relationship, beliefs, and survival.

I'm...torn with this book. The characters and their emotions are amazing—Vanderpool is an amazing writer. But, it has so many layers and parts to the rather unbelievable (as in: farfetched) story (stories, that is) that I find it hard to enjoy. I can't quite figure out the purpose behind the book. However, that kind of depth definitely gets the reader thinking. Here's the way I'm going to sum up: it's the kind of book that needs to be read twice (to catch all the double meanings) but not one that I want to read again. So there you have it. Read it if you want.

Find it at your library or on Amazon


  1. I loved Navigating Early! I fell in love with Early's perception of things. Though certain parts of the book are far fetched, without those parts the very essence of the book would be lacking. I concur, Vanderpool is an amazing writer.

  2. That's very true: thinking about the book through Early's perception does mean the far-fetched aspects are necessary. Thanks for that point!