"I am not always such a dreamy girl, listening to the sea calling me. My father calls me Three-sided Sophie: one side is dreamy and romantic; one is logical and down-to-earth; and the third side is hardheaded and impulsive."
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
From Publishers 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. 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.