Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Jack is plunked down on a rocky Maine beach straight from the wheat fields of Kansas. His father, a Navy captain, thinks that the nautical prep school is a good match to square away his son who seems to be adrift after his mother’s unexpected death. But Jack finds out in Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early that it’s going to take a lot more than a tightly-made bed or learning how to row to get him back on course.
Most of the guys in his class have been going to the same school for years. Jack’s definitely an outsider but not as much as Early Auden. A short kid with glasses, Early is a genius who only goes to classes when he feels like it and can leave in the middle if he wants to. Why he is allowed to get away with that is something of a mystery. There are a lot of mysteries about Early Auden, but one thing is for sure—he knows boats and Jack does not.
It turns out Early knows a lot of things Jack doesn’t, including dozens of digits of Pi. But to Early Pi isn’t just a number. It’s a character having amazing, unbelievable adventures. Very unbelievable, it seems to Jack, even though he has to admit that Early seems to know what he’s doing when he sets out in a boat for a fall break adventure that becomes the stuff of legends, from pirates to catacombs to bear guardians.
Set in the years right after World War II, Navigating Early is an unlikely heroes’ journey into the wilds of Maine. It’s a warm and exhilarating story about friendship, family, and finding your way.