Northwind by Gary Paulsen

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This stunning novel from the survival story master, set along a rugged coastline centuries ago, does for the ocean what Hatchet does for the woods, as it relates the story of a young person's battle to stay alive against the odds, where the high seas meet a coastal wilderness.


When a deadly plague reaches the small fish camp where he lives, an orphan named Leif is forced to take to the water in a cedar canoe. He flees northward, following a wild, fjord-riven shore, navigating from one danger to the next, unsure of his destination. Yet the deeper into his journey he paddles, the closer he comes to his truest self as he connects to "the heartbeat of the ocean . . . the pulse of the sea." With hints of Nordic mythology and an irresistible narrative pull, Northwind is Gary Paulsen at his captivating, adventuresome best.



"Paulsen . . . was not only a a master storyteller, but also a master world-builder . . . Wondrous . . . A grand and worthy journey." --Neal Shusterman/The New York Times Book Review


"A voyage both singular and universal, marked by sharply felt risks and rewards and deep waters beneath." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review


"Spare, survival-oriented prose keeps the reader immersed in scenes difficult and wondrous, offering a glimpse of the sheer awesomeness of nature, showcasing the beauty of the sea and its inhabitants, and regaling readers with a timeless and irresistible adventure that has resilience at its heart." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Call this posthumously published novel The Young Man and the Sea . . . [A] splendid story . . . Beautifully written, it's classic Paulsen at his best." -- Bookliststarred review


Gary Paulsen (1939-2021) wrote more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the recent father-son comedy How to Train Your Dad, and the acclaimed memoir Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood. Three of his novels-- HatchetDogsong, and The Winter Room--were Newbery Honor books. In 1997, he received the ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to young adult literature. His books have sold over 35 million copies around the world. The journey described in Northwind is partly inspired by the author's own sailing adventures, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

ages: 10-14

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0.9" H x 8.4" L x 5.4" W

256 pages