The Wanderer

ISBN: 0439316294
ISBN 13: 9780439316293
By: Sharon Creech

Check Price Now


Adventure Children's Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Newbery Realistic Fiction To Read Ya Young Adult

Reader's Thoughts


Thirteen-year-old Sophie, skipping between "dreamland or earthland or muleland," hears the sea calling her. Much to the concern of her adopted parents, she decides to join her uncles and male cousins on a sailing voyage from Connecticut across the Atlantic to England (and her grandfather Bompie) on a 45-foot sailboat. Not only does she want to make the trip, she feels she has to. This perilous cross-Atlantic journey will make young readers feel the wind in their hair and the salt spray on their face. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons) describes the sailing experience with astonishing precision--from the smell of the sea to the intricate workings of The Wanderer itself. Along the way, Sophie proves her bravery and competence to the rather grumpy all-male crew; intrigues and captivates her cousin Cody with her beautiful, odd stories of Bompie that always somehow end in underwater disaster and apple pie; and spills her heart into a daily journal. Readers get another angle on her, too, as Cody keeps a log that alternates with hers. He grows to know, and like, and wonder about, his new cousin Sophie along with the reader, and as her mysterious past reveals itself bit by bit, we are all right there on the edge of our seats, ready for the boom to crash over to the other side. Sophie's adventures take her not only straight into perilous waves higher than buildings, but deep into her hidden past. This profound, suspenseful novel will pull you into its swift current and barely let you surface for breath. (Ages 9 to 13) --Karin Snelson


"The Wanderer" by Sharon Creech was a very compelling book. This story is set at sea, six family members sailing across the Atlantic to England. Through the characters Sophie and Cody's travel logs, the reader learns a considerable amount about them and their internal conflicts throughout the novel. I feel the characters Sophie and Cody are connected in many ways they do not fully understand such as their family situations being rocky and their feeling of being lost and looking for a place to belong. I enjoyed this book a lot because my father and I sail together often and I understand the way Sophie feels about the sea and her obsession with sailing.


I listened to this story as a book on CD. There were two narrators, one for Sophie and one for Cody. The narrator for Sophie seemed too young a voice for the character. I began to wonder why this book was in my library's teen section. Then I read the packaging and saw that Sophie was supposed to be 13! The book alternates between the viewpoints of Sophie and Cody as they and their family members travel on a sailboat from the U.S. to Ireland. The ship is named the "Wanderer". I know very little about sailing, but it seemed unbelievable to me that such a ship would attempt to cross the Atlantic with its huge storms and waves. Of course they are caught and almost sunk in such a storm. Sophie's backstory is a mystery throughout most of the book. Since you only have two viewpoints in the story, and Cody knows very little about her backstory, you are completely dependent on what Sophie chooses to reveal about herself. It appears that she is compelled to sail and knows stories about a grandfather with whom the family believes that she has never had communication. There is some secret about her family origin since her current parents are not her birth parents.The book falls into 3 parts: preparation for the trip, the trip, and post-trip. The 1st part sets the characters: Sophie and her two cousins, the cousins' fathers, and another uncle. They also travel from Connecticut to Canada as they prepare to embark, and meet other acquaintances along the way. This part was most interesting as each place they visited brought new insights into each of the places. The 2nd part, the voyage, was the most tedious. Since all of these people are on a fairly small vessel, they become annoyed with each other. Cody tries to find out about Sophie's background from his dad and uncles. The adults allude to various secrets without revealing much. I found this to be very annoying, since it occurred multiple times in the narrative. Plus the uncles seem to have their own secrets. Basically this is a family that flunks communication skills and so drags down the story with their tired family dynamic. On the other hand, when Creech writes about how sailing works, the joy of being on the ocean, the creatures they encounter, and how sailing works, the story soars. The description of the storm is riveting.Once they get to Ireland and England, the story speeds along to its conclusion, which I will not reveal here. I thought that it was a believable resolution and the final chapter is an excellent foreshadow of adventures to come. However, the resolution only reminded me of how unnecessary all of the secrecy on the boat was. The POVs of the two characters are very well-written. Cody provides a counterpoint to the usually ebullient Sophie, especially when he notices her avoiding certain questions about her life or dealing with adversity. He is coming of age himself, and has his own problems with his father. It is a tribute to Creech that the other characters, who are only related through these POVs, come off as interesting as they are, when they aren't being secretive or moping. It was a very light and enjoyable read, albeit a trifle annoying at times.

Althea Ann

The book is aimed at readers around 12, I'd say - but it's a really well-done, affecting story, about a young girl who insists on being included on a very DIY yacht trip involving extended family, and with the goal of visiting a grandfather who's moved to England. Strangely, however, although the girl is eager to meet this man, the other family members seem convinced that she's never met him before, as she's adopted - something which she seems to be reluctant to admit. No one is quite sure how to react to her enthusiasm for telling her grandfather's "stories" to pass the time on the boat, either. But through a trip filled with adventures and danger, the embers of this family all get to know each other better than they expected, and to face things about themselves. Every character in the book, child or adult, is psychologically realistic and extremely well-realized, and the narrative device of switching first-person journals, one by the girl and one by her boy cousin, is extremely effective as well.


Sharon Creech has a special ability to touch the hearts of young girls. This is a story in which she uses several writing techniques to tell a poignant and powerful story of one young girl searching for her place in the world, and coming to terms with her difficult past. The story is particularly effective in the use of dual diaries, written by Sophie and her cousin Cody, which give the reader two revealing perspectives on the past and the present. Also delightful was the writing technique of Sophie's stories - told with a fable-like eloquence - of her 'memories' of a beloved grandfather. As an adult, I had serious questions aout the wisdom of the decisions made by the adults in the book (allowing Sophie to undertake the cross-Atlantic sail in the first place, not dealing with Sophie's inability to understand and accept her history)but the story is one that speaks well to the imagination and spirit of adventure of young girls. The Wanderer is an excellent choice for Mother/Daughter groups, with many opportunities for discussion on the craft of writing, and the importance of finding one's place in the spectrum of family and the world.

Cheryl in CC NV

The cover didn't draw me in for some reason, and this book sat on my shelf for too long. Thank goodness for the Summer Reading Challenge in Aussie Readers for pushing me to pick it up. Turns out it's another excellent story by Creech, plenty of storms & sailing drama as well as family & personal mysteries. In other words, a journey across the Atlantic, and journeys of the spirit, too.

Rebecca Payton

Sharon Creech is one of my favorite authors, I love the detail she adds in her book. Sharon adding detail into her book puts imagery in my head, making me want to never put the book down!This book is about a girl who has always wanted to sail the oceans and seas, and her dream finally comes true. She goes sailing with her family members and everything is going good, until a horrible storm comes through. I recommend this book to anybody who likes adventure books.

Adriane Devries

This novel for young adults was a gentle, sweet read for me, so reminiscent of my own childhood spent sailing all weekends and holidays with my parents. In these pages you too can enjoy a marvelously visceral ocean adventure, with salty sea air you can feel in the back of your throat, dolphins skimming playfully alongside, mystical whale sightings, and a rollicking storm at sea—all from the dysfunctional safety of the Wanderer, a marvelously flawed, always-needing-repair sailboat that perfectly embodies any family, or any other motley crew of people on the voyage of life together. Told through the viewpoint of a teenage boy and his younger girl cousin, whose mysterious past threatens to engulf her, the voyage across the ocean to visit their beloved grampa in his quaint seaside English cottage yields much healing and growth for every member aboard. Just like any other family starting out with the best of intentions, when flawed reality sets in we must allow our forged relationships with each other to challenge and mold us for the better. Bravo!


** spoiler alert ** the wanderer was a book in which a girl named sophie went sailing with her uncles and cousins, when a major wave hits their boat (called the wanderer, hence the name of the book). everyone has to push to survive. the tragic tale of sophie's parent's death is told, when sophie mixes up her adopted grandpa's with her own. i thought that it was cool, because the book was in a journal-like format. at the beginning of each chapter, there was a piece of modern art, and whether sophie or her cousin cody was telling the story. although i realize that sophie is the main character, i think that cody should have more entries into the book. i thought that his perspective was very intersting and i would have enjoyed to hear more of him. i found that the uncles who knew of sophie's parent's death seemed to be "milking" the death -as in it was VERY sad. when i finally found out, it didn't seem too bad (they drowned and sophie was left floating in the water). in other words, they overworked it. overall, a sad sea tale that was unlike anything i've read.

Josie McClain

This is a very well written book. It is not a high adventure book. I think the back of the book might lead you to think it is going to be high adventure. There is a section with a very dangerous storm on the sea. Most of the book is about the relationships of this one family. It has beautiful sensitive passages where the author has used our language like a song.


Didn't hook me--but then again, I'm an adult now. Walk Two Moons was my most favorite book for much of my early adolescence, and still when I read it again I find it very rich, layered, and amazing. I didn't get past the beginning of this one, though, mostly because my disbelief wasn't suspended that this 13 year old girl "had to" sail the sea. Maybe the reasons why she "had to" were upcoming, I don't know. I just thought that since sailing the ocean is a pretty time, cost, and privilege intensive activity that it wouldn't be considered something that the actual SOUL unshakably requires. I mean, if I had a 13 year old kid and they told me they "had to" sail the sea, I would tell them "Nope, sorry," and they would simply have to move onto something else. That's how real life usually works except for the ultra-rich, which these characters didn't strike me as... I'm sure I wanted to do crazy things when I was 13, too, but my parents didn't just LET me. That's my main beef. The other is that the writing style seemed to be a less believable and more hollow imitation of that of Walk Two Moons. And it kind of sets out to be the same kind of story, but that show just can't be followed!


This has been one of my all time favorite books since I was maybe seven or eight. I've at least liked all of Sharon Creech's books, but this is the one I truly loved and has stuck with me ever since I read it for the first time. I found Sophie the only main character Creech has written that I was not annoyed by. The others all seem the same to me. Sophie, while maybe just as unreasonable as many of the other characters from other books, is very easy to relate to and her character is one you can't help falling in love with. I don't think there's a single person in The Wanderer I don't enjoy reading. Normally I find Creech's protagonists to be selfish and unreal (Yet for some inexplicable reason I DO like them). Sophie was called selfish several times in the book, but I decided that she made up for any of her selfishness by making me smile almost every page and showing everyone else how amazing the littlest things can be. I could really relate to how she's drawn to yet afraid of the ocean (Like Sophie, I've had recurring nightmares about the sea for years) and her casual denial of the past was certainly something I've done before, though not to the extent she took it to. Cody is probably one of my earliest fictional crushes. I think I've been in love with him for about six and a half years, and when I re-read this book last night, I fell even harder for him. I think we can safely call him my soul mate. I think another big difference in this book was there weren't many things that sounded just plain silly. Especially in Bloomability (though it was a nice read) her dreams just sounded ridiculous. In The Wanderer, maybe just because I've had similar dreams, they just seemed so much more realistic to what most people dream about. And the writing. Did I mention the writing? Her writing is so to-the-point and clear, it never drags on, but it's still beautiful and poignant. So this book gets placed on the shelf right next to the Book Thief and 13 Reasons Why, because while very different, they are all among the few books that have made me cry AND really think about life. Very well done, Creech. (Oh, one last comment... would people GET BOMPIE'S NICKNAME RIGHT? BOMPIE. B-O-M-P-I-E. BOMPIE. IF you love him so much, at least have the decency to remember his name.)


Walk Two Moons & Chasing Redbird, both by Sharon Creech, are two of my favorite junior fiction books. The Wanderer did not disappoint. Knowing that 3/3 books I've read by Creech have been enjoyable, I want to read all of her other books, too!


I love this book! I believe I've read it 9 times, and now I'm reading it again! Sharon Creech's writing style is wonderful. She describes ordinary things like waves and boats with a magical quality. I love how Sophie is able to discover things about herself, her past, and her other shipmates, all while traveling across the ocean and making her way to "Bompie." The story is told from the journals of Sophie and her cousin Cody. I love Sophie's poetic entries, with wonder and mystery, but Cody's concrete, short, and concise entries are a good balance, and they help us learn the parts of Sophie's story that she is still trying to discover.The plot is focused on Sophie: what she needs to accept about her past and who she it now, and also where she is headed. But we also learn about Cody, Brian, Dock and Rosalie, the uncles, and Bompie. I actually like how Dock's is the only love story brought into the book. It seemed like Sharon Creech was going to have Cody and Sophie come together, but, during the book, they sort of just become cousins instead, and that's really how it was meant to be.Yes, The Wanderer is another book about a preteen girl discovering her past, but I loved it nonetheless!

Sammie Pedersen

I read this book for the first time when I was younger, it was one of the only books that I read. I think the reason I read it was I got so hooked on the girls adventure that she was having. Then there were stories her grandpa told within the adventure they were having. I loved these fun extra stories in the book and I think they kept the excitement up. This book shows a great message of family and how adventures that you spend with them can bring you closer. She was never very close to her extended family, actually heard many bad things about them, however by the end of the trip she was very thankful that she had them and had a great time on the trip. I would definitely allow my class to read this book. I don't think I would do a lesson on it but, I think it is a great book for young readers, possible a girl, that like stories about adventures rather than love.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *