The Wanderer

by Sharon Creech

Other authorsDavid Diaz (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2000






HarperCollins (2000), Hardcover, 320 pages


Thirteen-year-old Sophie and her cousin Cody record their transatlantic crossing aboard the Wanderer, a forty-five foot sailboat, which, along with uncles and another cousin, is en route to visit their grandfather in England.


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 5.5 inches

Media reviews

To quote KLIATT's March 2000 review of the hardcover edition: Sophie, age 13, heads off on the adventure of a lifetime: she will spend a month crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat called The Wanderer with her three uncles and her two teenaged cousins, fusspot Brian and devil-may-care Cody... a
Show More
force-10 gale hits and they barely survive the storm, but finally manage to make it to England where their grandfather Bompie now lives. On the trip, Sophie tells them stories of Bompie and his childhood escapades, in which he always nearly drowns but manages to pull through. These stories entertain but puzzle the others, because Sophie was just adopted three years ago, and she has never met Bompie... Sophie, of course, is a "wanderer" too, who has longed for years to belong to a family. Told in alternating journal entries written by Sophie and by Cody, this is an exciting and touching story of adventure on the high seas and of emotional discoveries. Life on the sailboat is described in careful detail, and the six on board realistically have their squabbles and their differences. The terror of the gale is particularly convincing, reminiscent of The Perfect Storm. Fanciful b/w drawings, resembling woodcuts, decorate each chapter opening. As in Walk Two Moons, Creech's Newbery Medal-winning novel, an important theme here is coping with loss, and the power of stories to help us deal with grief. The ending is full of hope, and readers will empathize with both Sophie and Cody as they survive their ordeal at sea and strive for understanding of themselves and others. (Editor's note: A Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults, among other honors.) KLIATTCodes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2000, HarperTrophy, 306p. illus.,
Show Less
2 more
Publisher's Weekly
Like Creech's Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird, this intimate novel poetically connects journey with self-discovery. When 13-year-old Sophie learns that her three uncles and two male cousins plan to sail across the Atlantic to visit the uncles' father, Bompie, in England, she begs to go along.
Show More
Despite her mother's protests and the men's misgivings, Sophie joins the "motley" crew of the 45-foot The Wanderer and soon proves herself a worthy sailor. The novel unfolds through travel logs, predominantly penned by Sophie (with intermittent musings from her clownish cousin, Cody) that trace each leg of the eventful voyage; each opens with a handsome woodblock-like print by Diaz (Smoky Night). The teens' insightful observations reveal the frailties of both the boat and its six passengers, whose fears and regrets anchor them down. Sophie, who was adopted just three years ago, proves the most complicated and mysterious of all the characters; her ambivalent feelings about the sea ("The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me... but some said I was too young and the sea was a dangerous temptress...") correlate to a repressed memory of a tragic accident. Stories Sophie tells about Bompie, as well as clever throwaway bits (such as the brothers' given names: Ulysses, Jonah and Moses), temper the novel's more serious undercurrents. Creech once again captures the ebb and flow of a vulnerable teen's emotional life, in this enticing blend of adventure and reflection. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Show Less
The Five Owls
"The sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in." Thirteen-year-old Sophie has begged her way aboard The Wanderer, Uncle Dock's 45-foot sailboat, for a voyage from Connecticut across the Atlantic Ocean to England and her grandfather, Bompie. It will be a
Show More
dangerous voyage, but Sophie welcomes the challenge. She is a seasoned sailor whose seafaring skills match those of her three uncles and two cousins. The inevitable friction between close relatives in close quarters adds spark to the tale as these sailors face a storm that almost sinks their boat. They wonder if they'll live to see land again. Each character in this story comes to life on the pages. The perils and mysteries of the sea are so realistically presented that readers will feel the wind, hear the snap of the sails, and taste the salt spray as they find themselves intrigued by the mysterious Sophie herself. Why does she deny being an orphan? How can she know personally told tales from a grandfather she has never met? What happened to her parents? Newbery Medal winner for Walk Two Moons (HarperCollins, 1994), Sharon Creech, presents answers to these questions slowly and obliquely through logbook entries written by Sophie and her "dangerously charming" cousin, Cody. David Diaz's ink drawings at the chapter headings help pull the reader into the swirling sea scenes. Through words and pictures, readers come to understand and appreciate Sophie's love/hate relationship with the sea as her inner thoughts touch on profound ideas that readers can ponder as they relate her life to their own. Out here, there isn't day and night and then a new day. Instead, there are degrees of light and dark, mergingand changing. It's like one long stream of time unfolding in front of you, all around you . . . maybe people never die, but simply live on and on, leaving other planes behind . . . maybe we're not each just one person, but many people existing on millions of different planes . . .Sophie and the sailing ship are both wanderers in this story of adventure, courage and personal growth. The invitation is there for readers to test their own mettle by joining them. 2000, Harper Collins, $15.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Dorothy Francis — The Five Owls, May/June 2000 (Vol. 14 No. 5)
Show Less

User reviews

LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech is a honey of a book. It’s not new. It was published in 2000, but sometimes you need to go back to some of the older gems. My daughter, again, suggested I read it.

“The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me.” This is the start of an
Show More
unbelievable trans-Atlantic sea voyage for young Sophie, her two cousins, Cody and Brian, and her maternal uncles, Mo, Stew and Dock, aboard a 45 foot sail boat. While 45 feet sounds big in general, amid the vastness of the ocean, it sounds small to me.

The sea means many things to Sophie, as you’ll find out as you traverse the ocean with her. At voyage’s end awaits her Bompie, her grandfather, who she’s never met. It is a voyage that changes everyone on board.

Narrated by both Cody and Sophie, The Wanderer portrays some very strong, young characters, characters you’d like to meet and learn more about. Both Cody and Sophie are endearing youngsters, one seemingly lackadaisical and the other dreamy, questionning everything. Yet when disaster strikes, they show what they’re made of.

I’ve been told I reveal too much of the plot so I’m trying to rein myself in. Suffice it to say, The Wanderer is a wonderful middle grade book. It even had me sniffling once or twice towards the end. Enjoy!
Show Less
LibraryThing member StephBecker
This is a great book I would love to read again!! Told by both Sophie and her cousin Cody, this story is full of adventure and heart. One of my favorite Sharon Creech books by far! The Wanderer is very well written.
LibraryThing member mochap
A lovely story of family, memory, adventure, and the sea.
LibraryThing member pinkmaster024
This is about a adopted girl named sophie who wants to go on a trip on a ship with her cousin's and uncle. she is only one there but she shows that she is really brave. They are going to see there grandfather Bompie.
LibraryThing member CatheOlson
I think I liked this one even more than Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird! It was the story of a 13-yo girl who sails with her uncles and cousins from the US to England to visit her grandfather (Pompie). Sophie is such a great character -- she loves sailing and the ocean so passionately. However,
Show More
she has some dark secrets in her past as well. She is adoped into this clan but doesn't admit she ever had other parents and though she has never met Pompie, she knows all of his stories--stories that no one else has ever heard. The story is told from Sophie and her cousin Cody's journals. Excellent, excellent book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member stephanie123
The Wanderer is about a 13 year old girl. She and her cousins and uncles Sail from the U.S to england. They sail in the Wanderer. It is the name of the 45 foot boat. They sail over to see his grandfather Bompie. Although she hasnt meet or seen Bompie she knows a lot about him like his stories that
Show More
no one else has ever heard of.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DanielaS.B1
Sophie loves the sea and would love to visit it even more. According to others, the lives in a dream world. Cody is a "knuckleheaded doofus." They both are going out sailing with some family members to visit Bompie. (Their grandfather.) In the book, we learn that Sophie was adopted and for some
Show More
reason she's afraid of water. When they had to face an ongoing storm, they nearly died, yet made it to England. (Where Bompie lived.) There we learned that Sophie's original parents both drowned. She was rejected in so many homes yet finally lived with Bompie for a while. Then, Sophie's new parents adopted her. Sophie thought that she had to push all thoughts of her original parents out of her mind, and convince herself to believe that she was born in this family and has lived with them her whole life. They finally arrive at Bompie's house. He is very sick. One of Sophie and Cody's uncles stays in England to take care of Bompie. Then, Sophie and Cody returned home on an airplane.

Amazing book! I couldn't find any flaws with it! It had a couple of interesting plot twists. This adds up to a great book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mcgarry
Yr. 7 - Yr. 8.
The ocean has always flowed through Sophie's life. It proimises journeys of adventure and discovery. And when she gets the chance to cross the Atlantic on board her uncle's boat, 'The Wanderer', she can't wait to set sail. But Sophie has a secret. Deep down she's terrified of where
Show More
'The Wanderer' will take her. For this storm-tossed voyage will also be a journey into the mysterious past of her forgotten childhood. And she, and the rest of the motley crew aboard 'The Wanderer', may not survive it.
Show Less
LibraryThing member flackm
This is a great book for anyone who loves adventure. Sophie (13) hears the sea calling and promising an adventure. She takes the chance for discovery and sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Her cousin Cody wants to prove himself to the crew and his father. We hear stories
Show More
of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea through Sophie and Cody's travel logs.
Show Less
LibraryThing member flackm
This is a great book for anyone who loves adventure. Sophie (13) hears the sea calling and promising an adventure. She takes the chance for discovery and sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Her cousin Cody wants to prove himself to the crew and his father. We hear stories
Show More
of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea through Sophie and Cody's travel logs.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ShelbyFink
This was my first book I actually read all the way through so I should give it some credit.

This girl goes on a typical boat trip with her three uncles and two cousins. They make many stops on the way to they're destination but there's a secret of where they're actually going.. The term 'Rose' kept
Show More
coming up which had me thinking alot. In the end it makes you think.
Show Less
LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
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
Show More
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.
Show Less
LibraryThing member fingerpost
Sophie is about to sail across the Atlantic on a boat with three uncles and two cousins, both boys. Brian is a geeky obsessive obnoxious jerk. Cody is a fun-loving, never serious cut-up. All three are about 13 years old. The journey is to visit Bompie, the kid's grandfather, in England.
The tale is
Show More
told in log entries by Sophie and Cody. Sophie's log begins the book, and we hear how eager she is to see Bompie again and such. But when Cody's log begins, we quickly learn something odd... Sophie is an orphan, adopted into their family, and she's never even met Bompie. Sophie is at least partially, living in a world of self delusion.
This is a good tale, well told. Only drawbacks... Brian is unnecessarily obnoxious. He mocks Sophie for being an orphan. Who would actually do that? And in the first third of the book, Cody is buffoonish enough to be pretty annoying too, though not cruel.
(Note on the cover: Like many books, this one has had multiple covers. Mine is the one with the disembodied heads of Sophie, Brian and Cody floating in the air over the boat. It's a terrible cover! Generally, when I read a book with pictures of the characters on the cover, I can't help but picture the characters in my mind as they are on the front of the book. Not so here. The three cover characters are so far off from those described in the book it's laughable. The characters are 13, and normal kids. All three on the cover look between 16 and 18, and all three look like they came straight from a modeling agency.)
Show Less
LibraryThing member juniperSun
Sophie & Cody carry the story line via their separate journal entries as they sail across the Atlantic Ocean one summer with their uncles & a cousin. We learn why the adults were so secretive/cautious around Sophie after their boat sustains damage from a storm. Of course there are relationship
Show More
tensions on such a small boat, but they all learn acceptance from the voyage.
Read with my son, who wasn't highly interested in the book, so will pass it on.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ERMSMediaCenter
Thirteen-year-old Sophie and her cousin Cody record their transatlantic crossing aboard the Wanderer, a forty-five foot sailboat, which, along with uncles and another cousin, is en route to visit their grandfather in England.
LibraryThing member Herenya
Thirteen year old cousins, Sophie and Cody are sailing with with their cousin Brian, Cody's father and his two brothers, from the US to the UK to visit their grandfather "Bompie". On the journey, Sophie tells the others stories about Bompie's childhood, and Cody and Brian wonder how Sophie can know
Show More
stories about someone she's never met.

I loved this. It's a beautifully written story about family identity and relationships; dealing with one's fears; and the joys and challenges of sailing across an ocean. It's poetic and it's realistic and it even made me cry, just a little.

Morale seems okay among the boat family today, but we don't get enough sleep. I think the reason we seem so tired - beyond not getting enough sleep - is that every thing we do, even the simplest of actions, requires such effort. Just walking a few steps is a major production. It's like rock climbing, where you have to plot where each hand and each foot is going to go before you can actually move [...]
But still, in spite of all of that, I like living on a boat. I like being this whole self-contained unit that can charge across the ocean with the wind.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Shelbs5
The Wandere is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a wonderful out to sea adventure
LibraryThing member mutantpudding
A fun and touching adventure story told in split narrative and journal format. The characters are complex and interesting and the way the author addresses trauma and family issues is subtle yet very effective. Definitely a book to reread and pick up new things from each time.

Other editions




½ (289 ratings; 3.9)
Page: 0.2393 seconds