The Wanderer

ISBN: 0439316294
ISBN 13: 9780439316293
By: Sharon Creech

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Reader's Thoughts

Alexa SOF2014

The Wave by, Todd Strasser is about a teacher named Ben Ross who makes an experiment to show the kids in his class what it was really like to be a Nazi. In beginning of the book Mr. Ross shows the kids a movie about the Holocaust. This was shocking and horrifying for them. Mr. Ross explains to the class that only ten percent of the population was Nazi’s at this time but everyone was afraid to stand up to the leader, Adolf Hitler. The next day he writes STRENGTH THROUGH DISCIPLINE on the blackboard. Students are required to sit up straight, and when answering questions, stand by their desks and spit out the answers. This was the start of the movement called “The Wave”. Weeks go by and the experiment is still going on. Many parents begin to get mad at Mr. Ross because all of their children are losing what makes them different from one another. Each child had to sit together at lunch and do the same things. By the end of the book Ben Ross has an assembly to tell the kids “The Wave” was over. The reason why he ended it was because everyone lost his or her originality and the experiment was way too successful. In The Wave the Ben Ross’s wife never liked the idea of having the movement. I agreed with her when she said that the kids were loosing their originality. At the beginning of the book when Mr. Ross first started the experiment it was a good idea but by the end I did not agree with what he was doing. I really liked reading The Wave by, Todd Strasser because it was really interesting and captivating to watch the transformation of the kids from before the movement and after. This book made me realize that we are very fortunate to live in a country where independent thinking is encouraged. In Nazi Germany the masses and the group mentality was encouraged. When we think back on it we noticed that it was a horrible time in the world.

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.

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.


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

KidsFiction Teton County Library

J CREECHDebbie-4 stars"The sea. The sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in. Come in."These are the words of Sophie, a young gal who is the predominant voice in the book, The Wanderer, which is actually the name of the boat Sophie and 5 men use to sail across the ocean. Their destinationn on the boat is to England to see Bompie, who is the father of the 3 brothers and the grandfather of the 2 younger boys. Who is Bompie to Sophie? That along with lots of other questions about her real family sets the stage for this adventure and somewhat mystery of the novel. Almost immediately the reader is drawn to the upbeat, positive, easy going Sophie. From the beginning we are made aware that she is both drawn into and repelled by the ocean water. We don't discover why til the very end of the book and along the way discover the relationship of the 2 fathers and sons, tension between the 2 maile cousins, and between the 3 brothers. Chapters are divided between Sophie telling us her feelings, what everyone is doing, and how they are treating each other, and also, we get Cody, her cousin's, journal entries. The book is terrific in letting us feel the physical toils of sailing on such an adventure, the group dynamics of being together with no where to go when people aare getting on your nerves. But mostly we feel the spirit of a young gal whose mysterious family upbringing troubles all our hearts. It is another winner from the author of Walk Two Moons author Sharon Creech. Like one of my favorite adult authors, Barbara Kingsolver, Sharon Creech has that trick of making every voice and personality stand out and make us feel the setting. There were actually times when I felt sea-sick. Great read for both boys and

Naomi Ls

This book was pretty good. It was about a girl who sailed around the world with her father, her Uncle, and one of her cousin. They were sailing to this place Bompie. Also the girl Sophie her mom gave her a journal to write about the trip and Sophie did write in it. This book had great detail and the author explained herself really well. I also could understand every parts and chapters of the book. The only thing I didn't like was that some chapters were one page long and some were very long, but other than that it was pretty good. I would recommend this book if you like sailing and if you don't then try to read the book and see if you might like it. I thought I wouldn't like it, but it turned out to be REALLY good!!!This book was pretty good. It was about a girl who sailed around the world with her father, her Uncle, and one of her cousin. They were sailing to this place Bompie. Also the girl Sophie her mom gave her a journal to write about the trip and Sophie did write in it. This book had great detail and the author explained herself really well. I also could understand every parts and chapters of the book. The only thing I didn't like was that some chapters were one page long and some were very long, but other than that it was pretty good. I would recommend this book if you like sailing and if you don't then try to read the book and see if you might like it. I thought I wouldn't like it, but it turned out to be REALLY good!!!


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!


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!

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.


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.


** 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.

Christian Emmanuel

I love this quote from the book "The sea, the sea, the sea.It rolled and rolled and called to me.Come in, it said, come in." It sounds so mysterious and gives life to the sea. Sophie is a very curious person with so much hope for the future, a person who believes you can be anything in life and that is why I liked her as a character. The book was good but I think it would have been more interesting to look at the angle of Uncle Dick and Rosalie. Imagine what a story that would be, a man crossing the ocean waiting a lifetime for the love of his life. I would love to ride in a ship across the ocean, I only rode boats going across islands and its such a wonderful feeling having the wind on your face and the sound of the waves lapping on the boat.

Myra Khan

Read this when I was 11, loved it back then! :)


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.


The Wanderer by Sharon Creech is an excellent example of a bildungsroman or coming-of-age novel.The protagonist of the story is 13 year old Sophie. She narrates most chapters with the occasional viewpoint from her cousin Cody. The alternating viewpoint is necessary to the story, as the reader finds out pretty early on that Sophie isn't exactly a reliable narrator. Sophie loves the sea. She wants to spend the summer sailing with her three uncles and two cousins on a trip across the ocean to visit their grandfather who is known as Bompie. They make several stops along the way, but the majority of the book is spent on a small sailboat. The character relationships in this book really drive the plot along. This is the second time I've read this book. The first time I was probably 12 or 13 and I loved it. I still loved it this time but for different reasons. When I was younger, I loved Cody. I also loved Sophie's stories, and I felt like the ending was the perfect mix of resolution and surprise. As an adult, I loved the lack of description when it came to the characters. When I was kid, I believe I read the book with the three floating faces cover. This cover is much better. You see, Creech never describes the characters. They could all be white, but they could all be black or Asian or Native American or any conceivable race. It's kind of nice being able to imagine different options. Although it surely doesn't help with what I'm gonna call the "Hunger Games Factor". As you might know from other posts of mine, the Hunger Games Factor is where authors are vague in their descriptions and characters are white-washed in movies as a result. Of courses Collins was nowhere near as vague as Creech is and almost all the characters in the Hunger Games ended up being white. The Wanderer was a great book and I'm glad I gave it a re-read. Favorite Quotations: "I wondered if it was better to know about the bad things in advance and worry about them, or whether it was better not to know, so that you could enjoy yourself.""We are just a floating refuge for lost souls.""[...] I am in one piece physically. Inside, though, I am in many pieces."

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