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From Norvelt to Nowhere Hardcover

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From Norvelt to Nowhere + Dead End in Norvelt
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Best Children's Books
This title has been selected by the Amazon editors as one of the Best Children's Books of 2013 for Ages 9-12.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Series: Norvelt (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374379947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374379940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Katherine Applegate Interviews Jack Gantos

Katherine Applegate: Your alter-ego Jackie Gantos is back! Of all his hysterical new antics in From Norvelt to Nowhere, which scene did you have the most fun writing?

Jack Gantos: That’s a tough question. There are so many good scenes. There is the harpoon scene, and the pistol escapade, and the over imbibing, the creepy bathroom stall scene ... I’ll settle on the scene where Miss Volker is using the sandwich bread to wipe the unending tears from her guilty crying while the soggy bread balls roll down her face like they were little white garden snails. That scene sinks into chaos for Jack.

KA: In the new book, Jack and Miss Volker visit some odd historical sites on their wild road trip, including a real ghost town. Is Rugby, Tennessee, still abandoned?

JG: Rugby is a great old town started by Thomas Hughes, who had written Tom Brown's School Days. He traveled from England and began the town which was built on socialist/utopic principles. The town was a perfect fit for Miss Volker’s childhood back story, and it had been abandoned for many years. But it has had a bit of a revival. The fabulous library has always been intact, though it was boarded up for many decades. The town’s origins parallel the origins of Norvelt.

KA: Is there a memorable, silly, or just plain embarrassing question you recall being asked at a school visit?

JG: After a Rotten Ralph presentation a baby-faced first grader stood up and with a very sincere voice asked me what had happened to the real cat that inspired Rotten Ralph. The boy seemed very troubled. I replied as sincerely as possible, "Well, he lived a wonderful life for many, many years until finally ... he expired."

He shifted from foot to foot and thought about that last word. Finally he asked, "What does expired mean?"

I paused. Time was passing. The other kids were getting restless so I got to the point. "It means he died," I said.

He thought about that, then asked, "Well, did you stuff him?"

"I should have," I replied while thinking, dang, I really should have. But it was too late for that.

KA: When you autograph books, you often write "Read or Rot!" Why?

JG: Oh, it’s just a fun little motto that basically boils down to Read books or your brain will Rot. I usually draw a skull and write READ OR ROT! in blood red ink across the forehead. Kids like it.

KA: Writing pre-Newbery. Writing post-Newbery. Any difference?

JG: There are differences but they are all very shadowy. There are no statements to be made about the differences. There are only questions. I honestly don’t spend a lot of time pondering this as I’ll probably invent a problem where none exists.

KA: Where do you keep your Medal?

JG: In the freezer. When I have guests over for dinner and make individual butter pats for each plate I use the medal to imprint the butter. This way the conversation starts off about me.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Gantos picks up where Dead End in Norvelt (Farrar, 2011) left off. Mr. Spitz is on the run and Miss Volker is the last Norvelt old lady remaining. In the wake of three momentous deaths, young Jack finds himself rushed from one uproarious adventure to another. Accompanying Miss Volker, he traverses the country ostensibly to memorialize Eleanor Roosevelt and Miss Volker's sister. Little does he know, however, that Miss Volker has another agenda. Even though she claims to be a pacifist, she becomes more bloodthirsty at each stop in her efforts to catch the murderous Mr. Spitz. Along the way she teaches Jack (and readers) about the history of the country in colorful and enlightening ways. The book is fast paced and laced with both history lessons and hilarity. The characters, who were so well developed in the first book, return, with perhaps too much reliance on previous developments. This is definitely a follow-up book, rather than one that reads well alone. Fans of Dead End in Norvelt will love reading more about young Jack Gantos and his pal, Miss Volker.-Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laurelyn Cooper on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I found out that there was a sequel to "Dead End in Norvelt", I was VERY excited. I loved the first book. The adventures of "The Gantos boy" and Mrs. Volker were awesome. The book "From Norvelt to Nowhere" left me feeling disappointed and somewhat cheated. It seemed to me a "rehashing" of the same type of adventures the main characters had in the first book. Sure, they hit the road, there was mystery and intrigue, but still it seemed "done before". I did enjoy the internal conflicts with the main characters and how it related to Captain Ahab in "Moby Dick". I REALLY enjoyed the historical stories told by Mrs. Volker and her love of books and history. But still I felt disappointed and left wanting for more.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Herbie Bookbinder on September 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Before diving in to a mini review of "From Norvelt to Nowhere," here's a little bit of info re: my history with "Dead End in Norvelt."

I work in the Children's Dept. at the Framingham Public Library, and I'll often take out audiobooks to listen to while driving to and from work. Of late, I've enjoyed listening to historical children's lit, with the occasional fantasy thrown in. This past February/March (2013), I checked out DEIN, and realized after the first few chapters that this was the stuff of... well, not quite magic, but pretty close. So much of Jack's antics had me in stitches, and the plot had me guessing so much, that I couldn't wait to listen to the end of the story via audiobook, so I got the hard cover and devoured the last third of the story. I then gave it to my oldest child (a high school junior at the time), and she read the book in about three hours. Then on to my 2nd oldest (an 8th grader at the time), and he alternated between reading and listening to the story. My 8 year old listens to it on occasion at night - she also does a great impression of Bunny's "curse dance" which consists of her skipping and spinning while clapping her hands -, but my 5 year old has yet to experience the sublime madness.

Suffice to say, most of my family love DEIN, and I've recommended it over and over, not to mention having it added to the public school summer reading list in Framingham, MA.

As soon as I finished DEIN, I demanded of the sequel gods to satisfy the hunger for more of Jack's antics in Norvelt. I thought that, since "Dead End" took place during summer vacation, that a jaunt during the school year would be a blast. In particular Halloween.
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By Lesley Buse on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was the second of the two Norvelt books that my sons chose to be our read aloud book for the month of January. We had just finished the first Norvelt book and couldn't wait to hear how the author would continue this tale. While it didn't grab us quite as much, and at times seemed a bit absurd, it was good to know that each character found their happy ending. Well, most of them, anyway. And we had good discussions based on whodunit. You have to read the second if you read the first. And if you didn't read the first, we highly recommend it.
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