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Navigating Earlyby Clare Vanderpool
Synopses & Reviews
Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop.
What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.
Praise for Steering Toward Normal
"First-time author Petruck’s account of country life is never dull as she depicts the strong work ethic of cattlemen and women, along with the universal conflicts between siblings."
"The plot is full of pranks and humorous situations but at its heart, it is a story about navigating the complicated and sometimes unexpected dynamics that come with being part of a family. Petruck captures the setting of rural Minnesota well, creating a small town where it seems like nearly everyone is related or at the very least always knows everyone else’s business."
"In Petruck’s capable hands, raising a steer—caring for it, loving it, and eventually letting it go—becomes a keen metaphor for the loss of a loved one. Diggy is a perceptive narrator, but not unusually so for his age, and it’s reassuring to see him sort out his tangled feelings."
"'You have to look for the things that connect us all. Find the ways our paths cross, our lives intersect, and our hearts collide,' Jack's mother told him before she died. Her words will come to have special meaning for readers spellbound by this atmospheric novel set at the end of WWII from Newbery Medalist Vanderpool (Moon over Manifest). After his mother is buried, 13-year-old Jack — a clear-eyed narrator with a great sense of humor, despite his recent heartbreak — is sent to a Maine boarding school, where he meets an eccentric student named Early Auden, who might today be labeled autistic. Early is obsessed with the number pi and believes that Pi is a boy on an epic journey, and in danger. Jack agrees to accompany Early on his quest to rescue Pi, and as the boys head into the wilderness, their adventures have an eerie resemblance to Early's stories about Pi, as do Jack and Early's own sad histories. This multilayered, intricately plotted story has a kaleidoscopic effect, blurring the lines between reality and imagination, coincidence and fate. Ages 9 — 12. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Part mystery, part literary puzzle, part life-and-death adventure, and infused with a frightening kind of magic, the story of young teens Rosemary and Adam trying to bring Adam’s sister back after she disappears—even from memory—is suspenseful enough for adventure fans and a treat for readers who love books and words.
Part mystery, part literary puzzle, part life-and-death quest, and chillingly magical, this novel has plenty of suspense for adventure fans and is a treat for readers who love books, words, and clues. Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam's older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.
About the Author
CLARE VANDERPOOL's debut novel, Moon Over Manifest, won the 2011 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature. This second novel will continue to astound readers with Clare's incredible writing prowess.
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