Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Vanderpool creates an updated version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Updating the story to take in the special bond between two boys lost in a Maine military school due to deaths in the family.
Early Auden and Jack Baker form an unlikely friendship after Jack's military father drops Jack off in the Maine woods after Jack's mother dies. Amidst the rigor and structure of military school Jack is drawn to Early, a boy who is allowed to live outside the military routine. Soon Jack and Early are on their way, in search of a monster bear terrorizing the towns around the school.
Their journey forces them to confront pirates, slavery, and the losses that torture them both. Vanderpool creates memorable characters that make us which we were twelve again so that we could travel with them down the river, experiencing the world with awe and wonder.
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