Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool | Audiobook Review

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool | Audiobook ReviewNavigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Mark Bramhall, Robby Daymond
Length: 7 Hours 20 Minutes
Published by Delacorte Press on 2013
Genres: 20th Century, Action & Adventure, Historical, New Experience, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
Pages: 306
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

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.

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool appealed to me because I was in need of an audiobook that I figured would be short, good, and something that I actually care about listening to. I had listened to Moon Over Manifest sometime last year and really enjoyed it and all the connecting storylines and threads of the story. I had Navigating Early sitting on my audible queue and just decided to take the plunge, because seriously, the story sounded awesome, the narration sample sounded decent and it was different from other audiobooks that I had been listening to.

What’s The Story Here?

Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early is about Jack Baker, a young boy who lives in Kansas with his mother while his father is in the Navy fighting overseas during World War II. Jack never expected his mother to die suddenly, if anything he was more worried about his father dying in the war. Jack finds himself completely uprooted from his home in Kansas and sent to a boarding school in Maine where he’s expected to know things about rowing, and he totally does not because of growing up in Kansas. Yet, he makes friends relatively easily and finds himself becoming intrigued by another student, Early Auden. Early only goes to classes that interest him and that’s until the teacher says something that makes him angry. He listens to a certain record each day. He is obsessed with the number Pi. So, on a school break, Early somehow convinced Jack to go with him to the mountains and more specifically the Appalachian Trail to find this legendary great black bear. Along the way, the boys meet interesting characters, navigate danger and forge the bonds of friendship.

What Did I Ultimately Think Of Navigating Early?

I loved this book. I loved how particular Early Auden was. I loved how Jack didn’t treat him badly, but was just a friend who realized his buddy thinks differently than he does. I loved the adventure. I loved the connections. I loved the story of Pi, as a hero, as we read of Jack and Early’s adventure. This is such a well written book, truly a spectacular read. I was very enamored with the story and thinking back now, I loved the part where they meet this grisled shop owner and he helps protect the boys but we find out he has a deeper story that connects back to the boys’ boarding school. There’s no romance though, and I am actually really okay with that.

How’s The Narration?

There are three different narrators for Navigating Early — there’s Robby Daymond, Mark Bramhall and Cassandra Campbell. I am not going to lie, Campbell was the most recognizable of the narrators for me and unfortunately, she does not narrate until the very end and only for a little bit. As for Robby Daymond and Mark Bramhall, the two narrate the majority of the book and to be honest with you, I have no clue which narrator is which. One narrates Jack’s narrative and has a youthful sounding the voice. The other narrates Early’s story, the story of Pi as a person and has a very adult serious sounding sort of voice. I liked the alternating narration. It kept my interest.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

Because CAMPING AND WOODS and this GIF is perfect for that.

four-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

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