A note from Headbuzzer: This week, Clare Vanderpool will be guest posting on the blog about her new book, Navigating Early! We're giving away 15 ARCs right here on the blog! Just leave a comment on Clare's posts when she updates and we'll be picking winners from the comments, so update your mailing address! We'll announce the winners at the end of this week on our ARC & Contest Winners board!
About Navigating Early
By Clare Vanderpool
So what’s it about? Simple question, right? Every author should be able to come up with a brief summary, an elevator pitch they call it, that can be given between floors on an elevator. Somehow my books seem to require a few flights of stairs, or better yet, a trek, a journey… a quest!
Navigating Early, set in 1945 Maine, is about two boys who are very different from each other. Jack Baker is a normal Kansas kid—he’s a Boy Scout, plays baseball, goes camping. But after his mother passes away, he is uprooted from his home and suddenly finds himself very lost at the edge of the country, on the brink of a vast and ever moving ocean.
Early Auden is the strangest of boys. He lives in the boarding school basement, rarely attends class, and reads the number pi as a never-ending story.
These two unlikely companions, brought together out of necessity, desperation, and loneliness, set off on a quest for many things, not the least of which is a great black bear roaming the Appalachian Trail.
Jack is initially a reluctant companion. He thinks Early’s quest is crazy to begin with and getting crazier by the minute. But on their journey they encounter some strange and eccentric characters. A grizzled man with one eye that has been gouged out by the same black bear the boys are seeking. A large Norwegian man with animal heads in his cabin, classics on his bookshelf, and scars on his back. And a hundred year old woman who lives deep in the woods, seemingly at the center of a maze of trees and bramble.
Their journey begins to parallel that of Early’s number story and along the way both boys find buried secrets and accidental treasures – and some unexpected things about themselves.
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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.