In 2011 Clare Vanderpool lived out every fiction writer's dream when she won The Newberry. Not only did she win The Newberry she won it on her debut novel! After all the fuss about Ms. Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest, I had to read it... I didn't like it. It's not that it was a bad book, obviously since it won The Newberry, it just wasn't my taste. We all know that books, like ice-cream flavors, are very subjective, which explains why one person's best books of 2013 can look completely different from another's. However, that does not make it bad or wrong just not pleasing to your reading palate.
This year Ms. Vanderpool released a new novel, Navigating Early. Although I didn't really enjoy her Newberry title, I decided to give her latest work a chance... boy am I glad I did. I LOVE this book! Navigating Early has an intricately woven plot full of coincidences, twists, and turns around every corner beginning with the title which is based on the protagonist interactions with his classmate, Early Auden. I could go on and on about this book, but I could never do it justice, so you'll have to read it yourself. Or you can read more about it here. Better yet, listen to the audio version. Robbie Daymond does an excellent job of making Jack, Early, and the other characters in the book come alive. He did such a good job that as soon as I finished listening, I went back to the first CD and started listening again, even though I might have to return it to the library late, so I can finish it.
You can read more about Clare Vanderpool's at her website and a quick summary of Navigating Early below.
Have you read any of Ms. Vanderpool's books? Are you a fan? What book have you read lately that made you sad it was over and longing to take the journey with the characters again?
Navigating Early: 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.