“Newbery Award-winner Vanderpool has done it again! This terrific coming-of-age story begins as WWII comes to an end and so many people have lost so much. After Jack Baker's mother dies suddenly, his father returns from the front lines, uproots him from the only home he's ever known in Kansas, and enrolls Jack in a boarding school near his naval base in Maine. Jack has learned how to count on his own sadness and loss, but when he meets Early Auden, sometime-student and full-time puzzle, Jack's life takes a surprising turn. Fall break finds the boys on a quest to find a bear, a timber rattler, and, maybe, a brother. I read this in one sitting, and you will too!”
— Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
“Just the sort of book that saves lives by igniting a passion for reading.”
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."