Review: The Wanderer

Thirteen-year-old Sophie hears the sea calling, promising adventure and a chance for discovery as she sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Sophie’s cousin Cody isn’t sure he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father. Through Sophie’s and Cody’s travel logs, we hear stories of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea as The Wanderer sails toward its destination — and its passengers search for their places in the world. – Goodreads Synopsis

I don’t remember when or why I purchased this ebook, but I’m glad I did.  I’m also happy to have finally read The Wanderer and discovered how talented Sharon Creech is at writing Middle Grade fiction.
My reason for saying Creech is talented is because I’m not remotely interested in sailing, and yet this story of a family sailing trip to England from the East Coast of the United States pulled me in from the first line.  I remember thinking, “OK, this grabbed my interest, but I’m sure it will quickly disappear as I get further into the book.”  Nope, not even close.  I was irritated whenever I had to put my Nook down to do anything else.  I stayed up well past my bedtime when I got to the climax of the story because I HAD to know what would happen.  Creech managed this by keeping Sophie’s back story a mystery and doling out bits and pieces that led to more questions throughout the book.  She also made sure that my assumptions about the other characters were called into question.  It wasn’t until after I finished reading it that I realized this is a Hero’s Journey, with a rhythm that matched the ocean they sailed on.
While I still have no interest in sailing (I prefer relaxing while I travel), I became extremely interested in reading more of Creech’s work.  I’ll be reviewing another of her books, Ruby Holler, later this week, but just know you definitely have to read The Wanderer.  It might not make you want to go sailing, but you could find yourself viewing the meaning of family in a new light.
This book qualifies for the COYER Scavenger Hunt item #29 (a book with no magical or futuristic elements).

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