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From Norvelt to Nowhere (Norvelt #2)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,324 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
This town is haunted by more than just ghosts . . .

When Jack dresses up as a notorious local murderer for Halloween, he thinks he’s found the perfect costume to scare away evil spirits. But when the real murderer returns and another old lady dies, he starts to worry that he might not be showing the best judgment.

Together with Miss Volker, the last remaining original Norvel
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published September 5th 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett
I enjoyed the sequal to Dead End in Norvelt, but not quite as much as the original. Some aspects of the book seemed just a little too far-fetched for me. I still love Jack's character and many of the supporting characters too. If you liked Dead End in Norvelt, you'll enjoy this follow-up; just maybe not as much. :)
Jan 24, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Eh...for me, this book fell a little flat compared to the first one, which I loved. There were a few too many similes, and didn't make me laugh as much.

Favorite quotes:

Miss Volker had treated me like her best friend. I think she was sixty-five years older than me, but it sort of evened out because I was her youngest friend and she was my oldest friend. I made her feel younger and she made me feel older. I asked questions and she gave answers. I made her feel smart and she made me feel clueless.
Feb 24, 2014 Donalyn rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the continuing adventures of Jack and Mrs. V as they travel to Florida for a funeral. Listening to Jack Gantos narrate the audiobook almost convinced me that the author was recounting a true family story.
The Styling Librarian
From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos – 4th grade and up – Mystery/Historical Fiction - It was so fun to jump back into Jack Gantos’s Norvelt community! There are such wise, knowledgeable characters that Jack is surrounded by yet still he goes through incredibly crazy twists and turns. I love that this book is a murder mystery where there are surprising answers to questions and odd situations that pop up through the entire book. Terrific story. I did weary a little from Miss Volker during her h ...more
Oct 13, 2016 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I cannot say that I enjoyed this book, and I debated whether or not I should give it a one star rating. I bumped it up to two for the unique and bizarre plot, and because it becomes a tangled up mystery near the end, and I had to solve it! The answer really wasn't that great though....

The first half of the book is written with a large and unnecessary amount of adjectives and similes, which made it feel very juvenile and poorly written. The situation Jack finds himself in is so unrealistic for a
Reviewed for the Emmet O'Neal Library Children's Department. Click here to access the children's portion of the review.

Grown-up portion of review:

Gantos (the author) attempts to parallel the story to Moby-Dick and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it creates a little bit of narrative chaos and pulls Miss Volker out of character. Also, I didn't really feel like the characters developed very soundly. Seems like the plot tightness of the first book was this time sacrificed for additional humor. But shoo
Nancy Lyon
Nov 09, 2015 Nancy Lyon rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
I loved this book even more than its prequel. Gantos is the king of hilarity and I laughed so hard listening to the audiobook, which is narrated by Gantos. The relationship between the young boy and Miss Volker is wonderfully touching and hilarious. Set against the backdrop of the cold war and the death of Eleanor Roosevelt make this a great historical novel. Kudos to Gantos!
Dec 01, 2015 Madison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy books historical books, funny book, and/or mysteries.
This is a great book! It is the 2nd book in the Norvelt series and if you want to read this book I would recommend you read the 1st book before the 2nd so it makes sense.
Audrey C.
Oct 02, 2015 Audrey C. rated it it was amazing
Fun book. but make sure you read the first book in the series,Dead End in Norvelt, or else it won't make sense at all.
Oct 05, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it
Jack Gantos. Quirky and hilarious. Thoughtful and poignant. Eleanor Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Intergenerational friendships. Need I say more?
Barb Middleton
Dec 31, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Jack Gantos is a terrific storyteller, entertainer, and teacher. He came to our school captivating students from ages 5-18 years old adjusting his lessons and zany stories for each age. Some stories were doozers that left us with side stitches and tears of laughter such as dropping a cockroach into the sleeping mouth of his sister who got him back by locking him naked out of the house. Or skateboarding off a roof into a pool. Or maybe it was a toboggan. Or bike. After meeting Mr. Gantos it is ea ...more
Jan 19, 2017 Anita rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, digital-audio
I really loved the first book, Dead End in Norvelt, (gave it four stars). This sequel seemed a little too far-fetched for me. It didn't capture me in the heart-warming, witty way the first book did. It seemed a bit flat.

However, I still enjoyed the relationship between Jack and Mrs. Volker. The "who dunnit" aspect was fun as well.
I also love her interspersed history lessons to Jack.
May 29, 2017 Angie rated it it was amazing
A road story plus a boy grows up plus his elderly neighbor questions her life and everyone else's. Plus it's just as funny as the first book. The author reads these. Treat yourself.
Mar 13, 2017 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big fan of this series!
Liz Friend
I was a fan of the first Norvelt book, but felt like the sequel fell short--mostly because irascible Mrs. Volker didn't seem in character for most of it as she threatens to kill Mr. Spizz with a harpoon. But oh well…it resolves itself at the end.

Annotation with spoilers: As the book opens, Mr. Spizz is still on the lam for killing all the old ladies in "Dead End at Norvetl". Mrs. Volker is briefly not the only original old lady left in Norvelt because Mrs. Custard has moved back from Utah--but o
May 19, 2013 Crystal rated it liked it
I laughed my way through Dead End in Norvelt multiple times, so I had expectations of some humor. They were certainly satisfied. Once again, Jack Gantos manages to pull together bizarre and amazingly funny situations throughout the novel. I would recommend that people read Dead End in Norvelt first, but Gantos does provide a bit of review in the beginning in case readers have forgotten some of the first book or haven't read it.

I was disappointed that Jack's best friend dresses up as an Indian fo
Carol Royce Owen
Feb 13, 2014 Carol Royce Owen rated it it was amazing
From Norvelt to Nowhere is the sequel to the 2012 Newbury winner, Dead End in Norvelt. If you are expecting more interesting history tidbits again, you won't be disappointed. Once again Jack is teamed up with the elderly Miss Volker, who continues to suffer with severe arthritis in her hands, which means Jack has to do everything for her.

But this time, more is asked of Jack. Although he helps to write a few obituaries, he has a far greater task ahead of him - to keep Miss Volker from killing her
Aug 06, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Here's a funny (probably only to me) story about this book. I thought I'd listen to it on audiobook, since everyone says that Jack Gantos is so hilarious and charming in person. Since I was going to be at the Central Library for a meeting, I meandered to the Children's Literature department during a break, grabbed the CD, and checked it out at a self-check out machine. Over the next few days I made it through the first two CDs, but it sounded really familiar. I thought to myself, "Gosh, this sto ...more
Adam Williams
Jan 20, 2014 Adam Williams rated it it was amazing
The theme of From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos is about two very different people getting to know each other. This is the second book in a series. The setting of the book is a road trip from Norvelt, Pennsylvania to Florida in the 1960’s. Jack is driving his teacher, Ms. Volker, to a funeral in Florida. They take many vehicles including trains, cars, and airplanes. They spend a lot of time in a used Volkswagen Beetle. They stop at run down roadside motels and eat only the food that Ms. Volk ...more
Becky B
After town founder Eleanor Roosevelt dies, Jack is asked to accompany Miss Volker to the gravesite so she can mourn properly. His mother tells him to take good care of her and do whatever Miss Volker tells him to. But neither Jack or his mother have any notion of all of Miss Volker's plans. While mourning over Mrs Roosevelt, Miss Volker gets word that her twin sister has passed away in Miami, FL, so she and Jack are now off to Miami. But they aren't alone and it seems Miss Volker has a side miss ...more
Int'l librarian
OK, I get it. Middle-schooler Jack Gantos now figures himself to be a writer, in part because of his obituary dictation gig. So as a narrator he feels compelled to hone his craft. But does every other paragraph have to contain a tortured metaphor? Apparently the answer is yes. Jack is as hell-bent for literary mayhem as he ever was for physical and emotional mayhem.

This sequels builds upon the murder mystery of Dead End in Norvelt. There’s a string of past, present and possible future murders t
As twelve-year-old Jack Gantos and his parents prepare to leave the town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, behind for a move to Florida, the town's serial killer strikes again. This time, he (or she) poisons Mrs. Custard on Halloween. Jack has the bright idea of dressing up like Spizz, the presumed murderer of all those elderly women in the previous title, Dead End in Norvelt. Needless to say, his costume does not go over well. When Eleanor Roosevelt, the town's founder, dies, Miss Volker needs Jack's a ...more
Aug 12, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Halloween has come to Norvelt right at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Jack dresses up as the local serial killer to trick or treat, but no one finds him funny. Even Jack loses his sense of humor when another old lady is killed right in front of him from a poisoned cookie. Miss Volker, the last surviving original Norvelt woman, takes the murder very personally since the serial killer had been killing in order to marry her. She is intent on revenge and takes Jack along with her on a cross ...more
Nov 30, 2013 Ed added it
Gantos, J. (2013). From Norvelt to nowhere. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. 278 pp. ISBN 978-0-374-37994-0. (Hardcover); $16.99.

Sequel to Newbery winning, Dead end in Norvelt, this book is best suited for elementary and middle school students. High school students with a love of mystery, history, and quirky humor will also enjoy this comedic romp from Norvelt to the “nowhere” some call, Florida. Captain Ahab and the White Whale are sighted along the way and a harpoon may even figure into the sto
Not a bad book--but this is a big letdown, after the all-around amazing Dead End in Norvelt, which, happily, managed to snag a very well-deserved Newbery for Jack Gantos. I definitely had the impression that this one was rushed into existence (and then rushed into print) before the gleam of said award began to dull. I sense that it was ushered onto the world stage, if you will, without adequate time for it to percolate through the myriad drafts, rewrites, and permutations a book--especially the ...more
Sally Kruger
Crazy life continues in Norvelt, Pennsylvania. Jack is still helping Miss Volker write obituaries for the newspaper and taking care of things around her house, but things are about to get even crazier.

Another Norvelt old lady dies under suspicious circumstances renewing Miss Volker's belief that the murderous Spizz is still hanging around. Jack and the old lady are working together once again to find the killer and bring justice to Norvelt.

When Miss Volker learns of the sudden death of her siste
Emmet O'Neal Library- Children's Department
The sequel to 2011’s Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt is just as laugh-out-loud wacky as the first. Jack teams up again with old Miss Volker, the last original old lady in Norvelt (now appearing to be approaching senility in fits and starts), and this time they’re on a road trip to catch a murderer whose MO is poisoning old ladies with Girl Scout Cookies. Just one teensy problem arises on the way: they’re not exactly certain who the murderer is, or what to do when they catch him (or her)…

Nusoua Xiong
Nov 30, 2016 Nusoua Xiong rated it it was amazing
Jack Gantos and Miss Volker set out on a quest to find and kill the murderer that poisened her sister. They eventually end up in Miami, Flordia since a dectective told them that the muderer was heading towards Florida. They eventually meet up with the suspect while going to Florida. Miss Volker tries to shoot the suspect she thinks is the murderer and misses her harpoon shot. They head south more and more, eventually needing up in Flordia. Miss Volker sister actually fakes her death so they can ...more
Jun 05, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
I won't give any spoilers about this installment, but if you haven't read Dead End In Norvelt, you may want to avoid the rest of this review.

You have been warned. The old lady murders are recent history in Norvelt, Pennsylvania. The confessed murderer, Mr. Spizz is on the run from the law. Miss Volker and Jack are still working together, and they are about to embark on writing the most important obituary of all. Along the way, Jack is introduced to a lot of history by the last original old lady
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Which Character Created the conflict? 1 1 Dec 07, 2015 10:22AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: From Norvelt to Nowhere 1 1 Oct 30, 2013 09:25AM  
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Jack Gantos is an American author of children's books renowned for his portrayal of fictional Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD, and many other well known characters such as Rotten Ralph, Jack Henry, Jack Gantos (memoirs) and others. Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery, the Newbery Honor, the Scott O'Dell Award, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Associ ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Norvelt (2 books)
  • Dead End in Norvelt

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