After the death of Jack’s mother, he is suddenly uprooted from his home and placed in a military boarding school. There, he befriends Early, a boy who reads pi as a story and collects newspaper clippings of a great black bear in the mountains nearby. When they unexpectedly find themselves alone at school, they embark on a journey on the Appalachian Trail in search of the bear. Along the way, they meet people who figure into the pi story Early tells. They both discover things about themselves and others in their lives on this great adventure.
This book captures not only the magic of childhood but also the hard hitting realizations of growing up. Even more impressively, I have to say the author's skillful yet subtle exploration of the themes of friendship, loss, and self discovery really snuck up on me here, and only serves to make this story even more powerful.
This book speaks to children as well as adults.