From Norvelt to Nowhere

From Norvelt to Nowhere

By Jack Gantos

Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374379940, 278pp.

Publication Date: September 24, 2013


This rocket-paced follow-up to the Newbery Medal winning novel "Dead End in Norvelt" opens deep in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis. But instead of Russian warheads, other kinds of trouble are raining down on young Jack Gantos and his utopian town of Norvelt in western Pennsylvania. After an explosion, a new crime by an old murderer, and the sad passing of the town's founder, twelve-year-old Jack will soon find himself launched on a mission that takes him hundreds of miles away, escorting his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her relentless pursuit of the oddest of outlaws. But as their trip turns south in more ways than one, it's increasingly clear that the farther from home they travel, the more off-the-wall Jack and Miss Volker's adventure becomes, in "From Norvelt to Nowhere," a raucous road novel about roots and revenge, a last chance at love, and the power of a remarkable friendship.

A "Publishers Weekly" Best Children's Book of 2013.

About the Author
Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include "Hole in My Life", a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, "Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key", a National Book Award Finalist, and "Joey Pigza Loses Control", a Newbery Honor book. Jack was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack s writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister s diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack s career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children s books and began to teach courses in children s book writing and children s literature. He developed the master s degree program in children s book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children s book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

Praise For From Norvelt to Nowhere

"Gantos employs gothic humor, scene-crafting mastery, and Jack’s querulous voice to offer a wild and challenging road-trip novel, murder mystery, meditation on American history, and love story all in one." - The Horn Book

"The book is fast paced and laced with both history lessons and hilarity." -- School Library Journal "A hilarious havoc-ridden road trip." -- BCCB, starred review "Dollops of history and mystery, plus gross to wickedly barbed comical set pieces set in a talky, ambling, amiable odyssey." -- Kirkus Reviews  "Fans of Dead End in Norvelt won’t want to miss this lively sequel." -- Booklist, starred review


"Gantos’s sequel to his Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt offers less history, more murder, and another hefty helping of zaniness."--Publishers Weekly, starred review





Praise and accolades for DEAD END IN NORVELT (2011)

Newbery Medal Book, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction Winner, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, an NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Kiddo Award Nominee, a Capitol Choices Noteworthy Title for Children and Teens, Horn Book Fanfare, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Children’s Book of the Year

“A bumper-car ride through history . . . Wonderfully wacky . . . darkly comic.”  —The Washington Post

 “This is a story like no other.”    —Jon Scieszka, founder of

* “Laugh-out-loud gothic comedy.” —The Horn Book, starred review

* “[A] wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review


“A brilliant book, full of history, mystery, and laughs.” —Dave Barry, coauthor of the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013

Young Jack hits the road with his cranky, elderly teacher Miss Volker (and a couple of cranky, elderly cars) in From Norvelt to Nowhere, the new young adult novel from Jack Gantos. The sequel to 2011's Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt is set in 1962, in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis. More at

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