From Norvelt to Nowhere
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From Norvelt to Nowhere (Norvelt #2)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  694 ratings  ·  192 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...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published September 5th 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Laura
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....more
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
Donalyn
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.
Rachel
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...more
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)…

Alon...more
David
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...more
Kermit
2.1 stars

I didn't particularly like Dead End in Norvelt, and so I probably should have skipped its sequel---which I didn't like even more. I do, however, like the history of Norvelt because it's a real place, and I like the concept of how Eleanor Roosevelt was part of creating this kinds of communal homesteads.

Some time has passed since Spizz escaped after poisoning all those old women. And then....a new old woman moves to town, and SHE is poisoned, too! Is Mr. Spizz back? Is someone else murder...more
Carol Royce Owen
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...more
Chak
The kid said "I thought it was interesting -- the way it was laid out. I liked the surprises and how everything resolved itself. The adventures and journeys were good."

Also, my son was lucky enough to meet Jack Gantos. My son thought he was "hilarious" and "cool."

We read the last 1/3 or so as a family, and the husband and I were very entertained by the book. Gantos manages to insert some educational material about American history (presidents, and Eleanor Roosevelt, especially), as well as lit...more
Warren-Newport Public Library
Jack Gantos is a riot. He reads all of his audiobooks which is particularly entertaining because they are somewhat biographical.

From Norvelt to Nowhere is a sequel to Dead End in Norvelt where Jack and Ms. Volker spend large amounts of time together. In From Norvelt to Nowhere, the pair are on a mission first to visit Eleanor Roosevelt's grave and then to solve a mystery. Jack's first person narrative is hilarious. He continually goes along with whatever the crazy old woman tells him to do incl...more
Llew P.
This book was pretty interesting to me. I might recommend this book to people who enjoy plot twists because there where a lot of moments in this book where I thought something would happen and the complete opposite happened and I would laugh. If you also enjoy a bit of comedy and mystery together this is an excellent book to read. The plot of this book makes a bit more sense if you read the first book in this series, Dead End in Norvelt. The reason I only give it a 4/5 is because as I explained...more
Ms. Yingling
This sequel to Dead End in Norvelt is just as quirky as the original: Jack and Miss Volker are at it again. When Spizz, who killed all the old ladies in town so he could marry Miss Volker, apparently kills Mrs. Custard (who has just moved to town) as well, Jack knows he has to act. However, Miss Volker's sister dies in Florida, so the two take off on the train to attend the funeral, the thought being that Miss Volker can't travel on her own. They end up getting involved in a variety of schemes,...more
Jessica
Jack Gantos is a riot. He reads all of his audiobooks which is particularly entertaining because they are somewhat biographical.

From Norvelt to Nowhere is a sequel to Dead End in Norvelt where Jack and Ms. Volker spend large amounts of time together. In From Norvelt to Nowhere, the pair are on a mission first to visit Eleanor Roosevelt's grave and then to solve a mystery. Jack's first person narrative is hilarious. He continually goes along with whatever the crazy old woman tells him to do incl...more
Jessica
While my entire family loved Dead End in Norvelt, this sequel fell a bit flat for us. It was still entertaining, but it seemed a little lost. The previous book was tightly plotted with lots of seemingly extraneous bits that all ended up being subtle clues that lead us to the mystery at the end. In the sequel, they are just extraneous bits. The resolution completely undermined the perfection of the resolution of the previous book. The literary and historical references all felt forced. Wackiness...more
Sally Flint
From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos is a bit of a bonkers book. A twelve year old boy ends up driving across America with an eccentric, but very cool, old lady, (who loves Eleanor Roosevelt). She is intent on taking revenge on a local murderer! It is the sequel to an earlier book which also has the supposed villain Spizz in it. The protagonist is called Jack and there is always a lot of the author himself in Gantos’ writing. (I remember him saying so when he was our school’s visiting author)...more
Stephanie
3.5 stars. This follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel by Jack Gantos is even more fast-paced, quirky, and fun. It actually feels like Act II of the first story, and it solves some of the long-standing mysteries and questions, while the two main characters (12 year old kid and his elderly lady mentor) set off to chase a murderer. Yes, the premise and the situations they get into are a bit ridiculous, but for the most part the story is funny and works well (and is just the right amount of weird)....more
Jeanette
I was sure I would love this book - I was looking forward to reading it. It was nowhere near as good as Dead End in Norvelt. Where Dead End was wacky and hilarious, this book was unbelievable and ridiculous. I think the the whole story seemed false because Mrs. Volker was on a quest to find and kill Spiz to take revenge on him for killing all the old ladies in Norvelt. Gantos spent so much time in the first book building up the character of Mrs. Volker, as a peace-loving socialist, who is feisty...more
Alison
Jack Gantos. Quirky and hilarious. Thoughtful and poignant. Eleanor Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Intergenerational friendships. Need I say more?
Barb Middleton
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
Kathryn
I really liked Dead End in Norvelt and liked this follow-up, just not as much. I do think that my kids will like this book just as much as the first, despite Miss Volker's history lessons (which I enjoyed and which led to some googling - Rugby, TN added to list of places I've learned about from books and would like to visit and read more about). Also, despite Miss Volker's age, there is a lot of action, always something happening. I have heard the audiobook, with Gantos reading, is excellent - w...more
Adam Williams
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
Bridget
A bizarre bit of lunacy that somehow manages to consistently fall short of being funny. I think this book fell into the sequel trap of trying to hard and failing, therefore managing to undermine fond memories of the original. Gantos takes too far a leap into the fictional, making his cast of memorable characters from Dead End in Norvelt behave in ways that no one, regardless of the circumstances, would ever do. It makes all of them unsympathetic, and the increasingly unbelievable plot careens al...more
Deb
This sequel to Dead End in Norvelt is as wildly, wackily, weepily funny as the original. Jack and the irrepressible Miss Volker hit the road, chasing the fugitive Spizz, but first they must pay homage to their town's founder, and Miss Volker's idol, Eleanor Roosevelt, who has recently died (it is 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis has just been averted, bomb shelters are a feature of the landscape, and train travel is still a luxury). I don't want to give too much away, other than to mention that re...more
Janet
This was a fast paced sequel to Dead End in Norvelt which won a Newbery award. The story takes place during the Cuban missile crisis and other history lessons are included in the story. Someone is poisoning all the old ladies in town and young Jack Gantos becomes involved in solving the murder mystery. He escorts his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her pursuit of the supposed killer. The story is silly, wacky and plain crazy at times. Maybe kids would find it hilarious, but I did...more
Spence
I would have given this only two stars but I do appreciate the history he works into the story, though this go around it felt very forced, that didn't make any less valuable information however, just less enjoyable to read to the kids.
Dead End In Norvelt was so great that I may be more disappointed with this book because I had expected so much more from it.
My kids still really enjoyed it, and again, because of all the history he works into it, it's hard to be too upset with it.

I just expected...more
Jj
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...more
Rachel
This is a true sequel to Dead end in Norvelt as opposed to a follow up, very little of this book will make sense on its own. As Halloween arrives in Norvelt the Cuban Missile Crisis is on, houses are disappearing, our fugitive old lady killer is still on the loose and even worse, one of the town's original old ladies has returned. When the town's founder and namesake Elanor Roosevelt dies it is up to Jack to make sure that his old friend Miss Volker makes it safely to Hyde Park and back. Miss Vo...more
Crystal
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...more
Tasha
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
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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. Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery Honor, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Association, and he has been a finalist for the National Book Award. His newest book, The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs (2006), deals with twins, euge...more
More about Jack Gantos...
Dead End in Norvelt Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (Joey Pigza, #1) Hole in My Life Joey Pigza Loses Control (Joey Pigza, #2) What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza, #3)

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