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The Way Back (Hardcover)

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(Young Adult)

Staff Reviews

There are so many reasons to read this book, including the author's local connection and the National Book Award sticker on the cover, but that barely scratches the surface. The Way Back is a beautiful and haunting story about two children who, after an encounter with the Angel of Death, have to journey into the Far Country, a land of demons and the dead inspired by Jewish folklore. Gavriel Savit is a strong and unique voice in YA right now, and I can attest that the award sticker is well deserved! Fans of Neil Gaiman will find Savit's writing to be reminiscent, but powerful in its own right. A delectably creepy book, and one that should absolutely not be missed.

— From Julia D's Picks



Perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman, a sweeping historical fantasy that follows two teens on a journey through the Far Country, a Jewish land of spirits and demons.

For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.

But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe-- just maybe--find a way to make it back alive.

Drawing inspiration from the Jewish folk tradition, The Way Back is a dark adventure sure to captivate readers of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust.

About the Author

Gavriel Savit holds a BFA in musical theater from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he grew up. As an actor and singer, Gavriel has performed on three continents, from New York to Brussels to Tokyo. He is also the author of Anna and the Swallow Man, which the New York Times called "a splendid debut." Learn more about Gavriel on the Web at

Praise For…

Lyrical and fantastic…. Steeped in the rich traditions of ghost stories and Jewish folklore, this remarkable feat of storytelling is sure to delight.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A bewitching allegorical adventure comprised of small, beautifully composed moments.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Savit builds the action with a storyteller’s assured cadences, creating a story rich in elements of Jewish folk tradition and flashes of both humor and the grotesque.” —The Bulletin, starred review

"This work of prodigious imagination is especially notable in its author’s uncanny ability to create a visceral suspense that captures readers’ attention and won’t let go as the pages fly by."—Booklist, starred review

Savit crafts an absorbing fantasy and gives teens plenty to contemplate about life, love, storytelling, and family.” —The Horn Book

“Darkly charming.” —Vox
Product Details
ISBN: 9781984894625
ISBN-10: 1984894625
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Pages: 368
Language: English