The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

4.6 244
by Avi

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Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now in expanded After Words edition!

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.

But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea

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Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now in expanded After Words edition!

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.

But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!

After Words material includes author Q & A, journal writing tips, and other activities that bring Charlotte's world to life!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher


*"A thrilling tale, tautly plotted, vividly narrated."-Kirkus, starred review

*"Riveting. Nonstop action. A story hard to forget."-Booklist, starred review

*"A breathtaking seafaring adventure."-School Library Journal, starred review

Newbery Honor Book
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
ALA Notable Children's Book
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Booklist Editors' Choice
The Horn Book Fanfare Book
NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
IRA Children's Choice

Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
If you love a good mystery then pick through these pages and unravel its wonderful tale. But be warned, states Charlotte, "Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago." Charlotte Doyle boards the Seahawk to journey alone from England to America. With only Captain Jaggery and an old, black kitchen hand named Zachariah as potential friends, she attempts to find a way to remain a lady. As she shares a ship with an unruly and decrepit looking crew, her fears and imagination begin to take hold. Charlotte discovers a mysterious stowaway along with a plot of mutiny. She tells the Captain her fears and he gathers the crew. Charlotte is witness to the Captain's rage and murder of the stowaway, and the whipping of Zachariah. As Charlotte attempts to save Zachariah she later learns that she insulted the Captain in front of his crew. Charlotte realizes that she has no allies on the ship. In order to make amends with the overworked crew she lends herself to become one of them. As she regains the trust of the crew her eyes are soon opened to the wrath of the Captain. It is up to her to survive the best she can. Originally published in 1990, this reissue will introduce new readers to Avi's Newbery Honor book. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Told in the form of a recollection, these ``confessions'' cover 13-year-old Charlotte's eventful 1832 transatlantic crossing. She begins her trip a prim schoolgirl returning home to her American family from England. From the start, there is something wrong with the Seahawk : the families that were to serve as Charlotte's chaperones do not arrive, and the unsavory crew warns her not to make the trip. When the crew rebels, Charlotte first sides with the civilized Captain Jaggerty, but before long she realizes that he is a sadist and--the only female aboard--she joins the crew as a seaman. Charlotte is charged with murder and sentenced to be hanged before the trip is over, but ends up in command of the Seahawk by the time it reaches its destination. Charlotte's repressive Puritanical family refuses to believe her tale, and the girl returns to the sea. Charlotte's story is a gem of nautical adventure, and Avi's control of tone calls to mind William Golding's 1980s trilogy of historical novels of the sea. Never wavering from its 19th century setting, the novel offers suspense and entertainment modern-day readers will enjoy. Ages 11-13. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Charlotte's journal of her transatlantic voyage, June 1832, as the only passenger on the brig Seahawk, is breathtaking reading. Always the obedient daughter, Charlotte sees no reason to change when she sails with Captain Jaggery and his 12-man crew. Loyal to him, she is the cause of the death of 2 of the seamen and becomes an enemy of the crew. When she discovers Jaggery's evil nature, she realizes she is in danger. The only way to gain the crew's trust is to become one of them. Her fearlessness is awesome and in this process of change, she becomes a spirited and independent young woman. 1993 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8On a long, grueling journey from England to Rhode Island in 1802, a 12 year old changes from a prim and proper girl to a swashbuckling mate of a mutinous crew and is accused of murder by the captain. Awash with shipboard activity, intense feelings, and a keen sense of time and place, the story is a throwback to good old-fashioned adventure yarns on the high seas. (Sept. 1990)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Part One

Chapter One

Just before dusk in the late afternoon of June 16, 1832, 1 found myself walking along the crowded docks of Liverpool, England, following a man by the name of Grummage. Though a business associate of my father, Mr. Grummage was, like my father, a gentleman. It was he my father delegated to make the final arrangements for my passage to America. He was also to meet me when I came down from school on the coach, then see me safely stowed aboard the ship that my father had previously selected.

Mr. Grummage was dressed in a black frock coat with a stove pipe hat that added to his considerable height. His somber, sallow face registered no emotion. His eyes might have been those of a dead fish.

"Miss Doyle?" he said as I stepped from the Liverpool coach.

"Yes, sit. Are you Mr. Grummage?"

"I am."

"Pleased to meet you," I said, dipping a curtsy.

"Quite," he returned. "Now, Miss Doyle, if you would be so good as to indicate which is your trunk, I have a man here to carry it. Next, please oblige me by following, and everything shall be as it is meant to be."

"Might I say good-bye to my chaperon?"

"Is that necessary?"

"She's been very kind."

"Make haste then."

In a flutter of nervousness I identified my trunk, threw my arms about Miss Emerson (my sweet companion for the trip down), and bid her a tearful farewell. Then I rushed after Mr. Grummage, who had already begun to move on. A rough-looking porter, laboring behind, carried my trunk upon his back.

Our little parade reached dockside in good order. There I became instantly agog at the mass of ships that lay before us,masts and spars thick as the bristles on a brush. Everywhere I looked I saw mountains of rare goods piled high. Bales of silk and tobacco! Chests of tea! A parrot! A monkey! Oh yes, the smell of the sea was intoxicating to one who knew little more than the smell of the trim cut lawns and the fields of the Barrington School. Then too, the surging crowds of workers, sailors, and merchants-all rough-hewn, brawny men--created an exotic late afternoon hubbub. All in all it was a most delicious chaos, which, while mildly menacing, was no less exciting because of that. Indeed, in some vague way I had the feeling that it was all there for me.

"Mr. Grummage, sit," I called over the din. "What is the name of the ship I'm to sail on?"

Mr. Grummage paused briefly to look at me as though surprised I was there, to say nothing of asking a question. Then from one of his pockets he drew a screw of paper. Squinting at it he pronounced, "The Seahawk."

"Is she British or American?"


"A merchant ship?"

"To be sure."

"How many masts?"

"I don't know."

"Will the other families already be on board?"

"I should think so," he answered, exasperation in his voice. "For your information, Miss Doyle, I received word that departure was being put off, but when I checked with the captain directly he informed me that there must have been some misunderstanding. The ship is scheduled to leave with the first tide tomorrow morning. So there can be no delay."

To prove the point he turned to move again. 1, however, unable to quell my excited curiosity, managed to slip in one more question.

"Mr, Grummage, sir, what is the captain's name?"

Mr. Grummage stopped again, frowning in an irritated fashion, but all the same consulted his paper. "Captain Jaggery," he announced and once more turned to go.

"Here!" the porter exclaimed suddenly. He had come up close and overheard our talk. Both Mr. Grummage and I looked about.

"Did you say Captain Jaggery?" the porter demanded.

"Are you addressing me?" Mr. Grummage inquired, making it perfectly clear that if so, the porter had committed a serious breach of decorum.

"I was," the man said, talking over my head. "And I'm asking if I heard right when you said we was going to a ship mastered by a certain Captain Jaggery." He spoke the name Jaggery as if it were something positively loathsome.

"I was not addressing you," Mr. Grummage informed the man.

"But I hears you all the same," the porter went on, and so saying, he swung my trunk down upon the dock with such a ferocious crack that I feared it would snap in two. "I don't intend to take one more step toward anything to do with a Mr. Jaggery. Not for double gold. Not one more step."

"See here," Mr. Grummage cried with indignation. "You undertook..."

"Never mind what I undertook," the man retorted. "It's worth more to me to avoid that man than to close with your coin." And without other word he marched off.

"Stop! I say, stop!" Mr. Grummage called. It was in vain. The porter had gone, and quickly at that.

Mr. Grummage and I looked at each other. I hardly knew what to make of it. Nor, clearly, did he. Yet he did what he had to do: he surveyed the area in search of a replacement.

"There! You man!" he cried to the first who passed by, a huge laboring fellow in a smock. "Here's a shilling if you can carry this young lady's trunk!"

The man paused, looked at Mr. Grummage, at me, at the trunk. "That?" he asked disdainfully.

"I'll be happy to add a second shilling," I volunteered, thinking that a low offer was the problem.

"Miss Doyle," Mr. Grummage snapped. "Let me handle this."

"Two shillings," the workman said quickly.

"One," Mr. Grummage countered.

"Two," the workman repeated and held his hand out to Mr. Grummage, who gave him but one coin. Then the man turned and extended his hand to me.

Hastily I began to extract a coin from my reticule.

"Miss Doyle!" Mr. Grummage objected.

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 244 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it had a lot of suspense. I read this book when I was in sixth grade because I didn't have any other choice, but if I knew it was this good, I would of chose to read it on my own. This book had amazing twists and turns on every chapter and I loved it. It kept you on the edge of your seat (or just possibly on the floor!) with your mouth hanging dead open! This book was incredible! You really should buy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my Reading Olympics, and I loved it! I was really sad when Charlotte went home to her parents, it was just so different from the ship. But the end made me very pleased! Read this book, you won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favortie teachers read this story to my class back when I was in 5th grade and I loved the story. I recently read the story to my daughter and she loves it just as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is 1 of the best books ever! it should be made into a movie!!!!! i swear u'll luv it!
C_Whittaker 11 months ago
In my opinion, this book is a literary masterpiece! I'd recommend it for both young and old. The scene is set in 1800 where a 13 year old girl must make a dangerous trip from England to America. As it turns out, she is the only female on a ship full of pirate-types preparing to take revenge upon the sadistic Captain Jaggery, for hurting one of their crewmates. The reader will watch young Charlotte break all the rules of tradition for young girls her age, in order to save her life, and the life of the crew that have now become her friends. This story is timeless and good for either gender as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Remembered a bit of this and that cover too. One of my favorite childhood reads.
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charp More than 1 year ago
Introduction: In the story, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Charlotte is sent to America to live with her family. Her father is the owner of the company that owns the Seahawk. On June 16, 1832, a young woman by the name of Charlotte Doyle steps on board the Seahawk for what will be the most life changing event of the young woman’s life. Description and summary of main points: While on board the month long voyage, Charlotte encounters twelve angrily working men and a captain that takes no non sense. Charlotte is found guilty for the murder of two crewmen threw a non fair trial. When Charlotte reaches America, she intends to expose Jaggery for his true self. Evaluation: After reading The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, the reader might feel lucky to be in the life they do have. Charlotte is just a young girl forced to take a journey with a crew of old, dirty men. The reader should receive the lesson to be happy with what you have, and I understood that. Conclusion: At the end of the story, the Seahawk finally reaches America. Charlotte wants to tell police and her father about the murderer and psychopath of the captain. She remembers what jaggery said about saying anything. The captain is in full control of the ship. He or she may do any actions he or she did or intends on doing. Once she reaches her home, she realizes she does not want to live the fancy life every wishes they had. At sun set, right after Charlotte is put to sleep, she sneaked out her window and went back to the Seahawk where she truly belonged Your final review: The story The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a very heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, fun story. The main character, Charlotte Doyle, is sent to live with her family in America. When she reaches the ship, she realizes the family she intended to travel with to America did not show up. She is forced to go on her own. On board the Seahawk, Captain Jaggery is kind and willing to take Charlotte under her wing and protect her from the vicious crewmen. The Captain takes control of Charlotte to receive information of the crew’s actions. She then turns against Jaggery and starts a rivalry she does not wish to participate in. Jaggery is spiteful of Charlotte actions. When there is a massive ocean storm, two crewmen are killed, and Jaggery blames Charlotte for the deaths.When the ship reaches America , Charlotte is not hesitant to exit the ship. When she arrives home, she realizes she wants to live her life on the ship. During the night she runs away from home, boards the Seahawk, and is never to return again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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COCOGAL More than 1 year ago
cant wait for the movie.....
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ashley-w More than 1 year ago
Not Every Thirteen year old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. . This book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Is a wonderful adventure with scandal and two faced stow a ways hiding from the real truth of who's who on Captain Jaggery's ship. But soon the scandal turns and Charlotte has to deal with the biggest threat of her whole life. Charlotte was a simple young woman pale and rich but when she is sent to this ship for many months she changes in ways she can't explain. She is accused for murder and sent to the brig and runs into an old friend but that's not the end of her frightening tale. She is faced with charges and no one can help her because all her friends on the busty ship have turned against her because the murder of their close friend. You have to read the book it will change you as well as it changed Charlotte Doyle.
PMS14 More than 1 year ago
"The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" The main character is known to be Charlotte Doyle, an average British girl, was set to voyage on the Seahawk from the All Girls Academy, she was attending in Liverpool, England and to dock in Province, Rhode Island to meet her family. She faces many exciting complications along the way. Charlotte didn't expect to be sailing with a bunch of men, she was told by her care-taker, she would be sailing with two other families. Aboard the ship, Charlotte Doyle, made some friends, a black man named Zachariah, who gives her a dirk, a knife, to protect herself. She also becomes friends with Captin Jaggery. Each day was unique aboard the Seahawk, often, the wind was cold and the sky was gray, and on her good days the sun would shine a little through the gloomy clouds. Even though, the atmosphere wasn't the best, the author, Avi, always made Charlotte seem happy. True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, has twenty-two chapters, and in each chapter has thrilling moods. True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is one of my favorite books of all time . I wouldn't mind reading it over and over. I would highly recommend this book to about anyone.
FASHIONGIRL32 More than 1 year ago
This book was out of the world. I can read that book over and over again!! I was just breath taking. I mean like the front cover, Charlotte's journey it all popped. Avi really put time into this book. He's written books before and there all great but, this has something special about it. If you want a show stopping breath taking book this it!!!!!
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CCLover13 More than 1 year ago
avi did an amazing job with this book and i can't wait to read more of his other books. i like the characteristics that he gave to Charlotte and the other characters. i don't like the character captain jaggery with him being so cruel to the crew members and lie to the authorities, and hit charlotte for something small like making them get off course for a couple of days. had an old crew member have his arm amputated, and killed only seconds after being shot in the chest. in the end i like that charlotte realized that her home was on the seahawk not in providence, rhode island. hope you love the book almost as much as i do.
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