From Norvelt to Nowhere

Norvelt Series (Volume 2)

Jack Gantos

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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


Read an Excerpt

It was Halloween afternoon and I was swinging hand over hand like an escaped chimpanzee across the lattice of open attic rafters in Miss Volker’s rickety wooden garage. She was circling directly below me and impatiently shouting out orders and crossly pointing up at what odds and ends of no-good junk she wanted me to inspect. I may have been acting like a giddy monkey in the rafters but I was really trying my best to help her out and even make her laugh, because this last while her old-lady moodiness was even more stormy than usual.
Mom had noticed too and just



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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 guysread.com

* “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

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jack Gantos

  • Jack Gantos was raised in the town of Norvelt and now lives in Boston. In addition to his two Norvelt novels, he is also the acclaimed author of the Joey Pigza series, the Jack Henry story collections, and the many Rotten Ralph books.

  • Jack Gantos
    Jack Gantos



Teacher's Guide


Available Formats and Book Details

From Norvelt to Nowhere

Norvelt Series

Jack Gantos

Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year


Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)