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Review: Navigating Early

Cover © Delacorte Books for  Young Readers

Cover © Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Well, if I’m going to keep up my three-reviews-a-month resolution, I better get cracking, because it’s already March already.

I’m one of those lucky people who likes all kinds of books. Every genre, every style. I’ll read anything. Well, except for grown-up books. But that’s something else. Anyway, I like all kinds of books, and there aren’t any books I turn away from based on genre or whatever.

On the blog, a lot of the books I review are really funny, or action packed, or fascinating non-fiction. I really just want to find books that will appeal to you. But I also know that not all guys like the same types of books, so I want to have a wide range of titles here. I want anyone to come to our blog and find a book that looks interesting to him (or her!).

So, today, I have a sort of quiet book. Maybe you could call it a thinking book. Not that it doesn’t have some good action. Not that it doesn’t have some funny parts. It has those. a calmer, quieter way. It is not the action or the humor or the genre that makes books good. It’s the story.

Navigating Early, by Newbery Medal-winning author Clare Vanderpool (she won a few years ago for Moon Over Manifest) is the story of Jack, who suddenly finds himself sent to a boarding school in Maine, and Early, the mysterious boy he meets there. Together, they take on a quest that sends them through the woods and up the river, with danger and surprise at every turn.

See? It’s quiet, but it’s a quest tale, so you know it’s going to have excitement.

There’s one other thing I want to tell you about, because you know if you’ve been reading reviews that I like to point out interesting things authors do in their storytelling. Ms. Vanderpool must not have been content to write just one story, because she has put a little story inside the main story of her book.

Authors do this sometimes, the story-within-a-story. Why do you think? In the case of Navigating Early, the side story is told by Early, and many parts of it predict and parallel their quest. Often, authors use a story-within-the-story to make connections, or to fill in some missing information. In Holes, Louis Sachar used a story-within-a-story to explain the origin of outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow.

Sometimes the two (or more!) stories end up actually intersecting, and sometimes they don’t. But always, there is a reason the author chose to write that way. It’s up to you, as the reader, to figure out why. Read closely, you won’t want to miss it.

Keep reading!

Navigating Early

By Clare Vanderpool

320 pages

Genre: Historical fiction; quests

Source: NetGalley, and an ARC from ALA Midwinter

On shelves now!


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