Navigating Early: Exploration, Autism, and Coming-of-Age (also pi)

WE HAVE A BOOK REVIEW FOR TODAY. Yes I know I haven’t done a book review in like a gazillion years BUT I INTEND TO CHANGE THAT. Because when I started this blog I intended for there to be book reviews pretty often. Evidently I kinda dropped the ball on that. XP So I’m attempting to do at least one book review every month from now on.

So. Anyways. On to the review. 

plot summary: 

At the end of World War 2, Jack Baker, a land-locked 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.


my thoughts: 

Oh. My. Goodness. Guys. This book was amaaaazing. GAH. Literally one of the most well-written books I've ever read. Everything was woven together so perfectly to create a moving story with a valuable message. 

So basically Early is autistic. (at least I think he is I don't remember if it was explicitly stated though) He reads the numbers in pi as the story of a young man. Jack is the main character, but through the book, Early tells Jack the story of Pi. Many of the chapters are from Pi's point of view. Evidently (I don't know if this is historical fact or if the author added this) some really smart guy discovers that the number pi will end after a certain number of digits. Early is adamant that this isn't the case, because if the digits end, then the story of Pi will end. (I KNOW THAT SOUNDS CONFUSING THIS IS HARD TO EXPLAIN OK.) 

When Early and Jack are left alone at school through a string of events, they embark on a journey to find the Great Appalachian Bear. Their adventure ties together with Pi's in a really well-written way. (What you should get from this extremely confusing summary: you really need to read the book if you want to know what happens. XD) And there's A LOT more going on in the book (it actually has some semi-mystery element towards the end which were handled really really really well) but you'll just have to go read it. :D

Now let's the discuss the characters. Early is a whimsical boy who spends his time ostracized (for the most part) from the other boys at the school. He's a thinker, pretty smart, and extremely stubborn, which is probably his most endearing characteristic. Jack is a relatively normal kid who's Mom just died and who's Dad isn't really there for him. (Both of those elements are a major part in his character arc throughout the book.) His character arc is legit the best I can think of. And not to brag, but I've read a lot of books. XP Yes, it's that good.  

The adventure they go on may seem a bit strange at times, and it's definitely not a fast-moving book. But in the end, every single detail comes together to make for a brilliant, beautiful, and satisfying coming-of-age novel.

This book may seem like a book about boating, exploration, and math, and it is, but it's also about so much more. It's about raining and Billie Holiday and red teacups and stargazing and family and bears and hope. About brothers. It's about getting lost and finding your way home again. About healing. About letting go of the past and moving on. 


So what do you guys think? Will this one be going on your TBR pile? :D 

~ Jonathan 

Share this:

, ,

CONVERSATION

28 comments:

  1. I feel like this blog post promised pie and now I'm slightly disappointed.


    (I'm going to have to get this book)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *pats you* XD Here, have a waffle instead.

      (Yes you are. :P)

      Delete
    2. Dude, what is it with WAFFLES??

      Delete
  2. Even though I am not a big fan of historical fiction, I am going to add "Navigating Early" to my TBR! I like how it involves nature and of course, BLACK BEARS! I also really liked books like this when the character meets new friends and they embark on a big adventure. :D Great review!

    Maddie polaroidbooks.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well if you're going to read a his fic, this is definitely the one! :D YES BEARS also it involves timber rattlesnakes just so you know. XD Thanks! :)

      Delete
  3. Oh, wow. Like, I love super close to part of the Appalachian Trail! :D *must read this now* Dis sounds fabulous. So, yes, it's on my TBR.

    Btw, you seriously should get Goodreads! I would totally stalk...uh, friend you. XP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES IT IS FABULOUS. XD

      Ah, I've been considering it... :D If I do you shall hear about it. :P

      Delete
  4. o.o this sounds really fascinating, i'll have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds really, really cool. Already added to my growing TBR list. My cousin was looking over my should while I write my post and says that this was one of the summer reading books for her school and all her friends loved it. I'm checking my library as soon as I get home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha it is super cool! Lol well OF COURSE ALL HER FRIENDS LOVED IT Ooh cool let me know what you think of it when you're done! :)

      Delete
  6. JONATHANNNNNNN
    THIS BOOK LOOKS SO GOOD. i can not wait to find it and read it
    gahhhhhhhh

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Appalachian Trail? Yes please. It sounds amazing (and slightly confusing). I'm totally booked up right now with reading. (Yes, pun intended.) But yes, this book. I want to read it. (And, very random note, but currently the sun is shinning as bright as ever and it's all-out raining. Totally gorgeous.)
    Aidyl from Noveltea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha well it's definitely a good one to add! (ooh that's so cool! :D)

      Delete
  8. I've heard of this book before, and yes after your review, I will read it if I get a chance. :) It sounds fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is very fascinating and amazing here *throws it at you* XP

      Delete
  9. I love Navigating Early ! It doesn't specifically say in the book that Early is autistic because they didn't have a word or diagnosis for it in that time period. Have you read the author's first book Moon Over Manifest ? It won the 2011 Newberry Medal. I think that one is even better!

    That last paragraph in this post, though <3 You described it so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaahhh ok I didn't think so! I was wondering why though. XD OOH YUS <3 <3 <3 I just finished Moon Over Manifest recently and that was also so goooooooooooooood. XD

      Well thanks! :)

      Delete
  10. This sounds amazing! And I love that cover!!! I'm really glad you'll be doing more book reviews, because more books to spend my precious time on instead of being productive, is exactly what I need... *sighs* :-/ I don't even think I have done a book review on my new blog... I need to get back to doing that. Oops ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IKR I LOVE THAT COVER ALSO. XD Lol so true though! :P Ooh yes you should definitely post a review some time. *shoos you to wherever you write your blog posts* XD

      Delete
  11. GAH. I HAVE LIKE NO TIME TO READ AND YET YOU ARE GIVING ME ANOTHER AWESOME BOOK TO ADD TO MY TBR LIST!!!!!!!
    I think the pile is in danger of falling over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *sets the book on top and watches as the entire stack topples over* OOPS SORRY. XD

      Delete
    2. So helpful. *rolls eyes*
      Btw, I tagged you...probably one of a gazillion tags you've been tagged with. But still. ;)
      http://4rmeddy.blogspot.com/2016/08/another-writing-tag.html

      Delete
    3. Ikr aren't I? :P
      Ooh ok I'm actually still working on that other tag you tagged me for lol. XD

      Delete
  12. Finally got to sit down and finish Navigating Early yesterday... <3 <3 <3 <3 I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! SOOO AMAZING!! Thanks for introducing me to it :D I was really surprised by the ending!

    ReplyDelete