Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

English Education

About  | Programs of Study  | Writing Instruction  | Outreach | Events  | Faculty  | Contact  | FAQs

Young Adult Lit WebQuests

Book Summary

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

            Sophie is a 13 year-old who often dreams of the sea, so when her uncles and her cousins plan to sail across the Atlantic, Sophie knows she must go with them. The journal entries written by Sophie and her cousin Cody tell the story of a journey across the ocean and toward feelings of self- acceptance and respect for one another. Family bonds grow stronger as the crew battles the forces of the sea, and as Sophie battles with memories that must be understood and accepted.

            The Wanderer combines adventure, family relationships, and compelling characterization to tell a tale of a difficult journey to another land, and to a sense of self-awareness and acceptance for Sophie and the crew members. The crew of the Wanderer sets sail from Connecticut, passes through Long Island Sound, and makes stops at Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Grand Manon Island off the coast of Nova Scotia before crossing the Atlantic and is heading for England. There they will dock the Wanderer and drive to Ireland, the home of Bompie, Sophie's grandfather. Along the way, Sophie learns about lobsters, fishing, seals, dolphins, and whales. Her vocabulary is enriched with words like grommet, slides, and outhaul. The Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream take on new meaning for Sophie as well, and all the while she is learning about family relationships, lost dreams, and continued hopes.  She is traveling with her two cousins, Cody and Brian, and three of her uncles, Mo, who works as a data processor but secretly longs to be an artist, Dock, who has been in love with a woman who he hasn't seen since he was young for his entire life, and Stew, who got his name for his tendency to "stew" when he is angry.

            Sophie looks forward to seeing Bompie. She thinks of him as a third parent, and as someone very like herself; he is a sweet man and a teller of tales. It is this connection with Bompie that urges Sophie to become the story-teller aboard ship. She shares with her uncles and cousins the many stories Bompie has told her of his youth. The author relates these stories through Cody's journal entries. In this way, Sophie's cousin is able to comment on and question the stories as Sophie tells them. This technique tells the reader as much about Sophie as about Bompie, and soon questions arise as to the authenticity of the stories.

            The journey aboard the Wanderer is not without peril. The crew faces a force ten gale with winds at fifty knots. Sophie and Cody are on watch when the boat is struck by a huge, white wave that knocks out the radio and the GPS; all the crew members wonder whether they will ever make it to England. For Sophie, the wave brougDecember 19, 2005nother wave, memories she had repressed for a long time.

            The Wanderer shows Sophie to be a courageous and imaginative girl who makes a difficult and frightening journey from America to England. However, it is Sophie's journey into her past and her newfound memories that will change her life forever.

WebQuest Homepage

Department of English home
Apply to ASU:
undergraduate students | graduate students
Course catalogs
Page Contact:
updated: February 14, 2007