The Watcher
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The Watcher

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,027 ratings  ·  160 reviews
A mysterious girl, dubbed The Watcher, spins tales of rescue from her lonely perch above the beach. She closely observes the actions of two people she has never met: a fourteen-year-old boy whose family seems perfect and a handsome eighteen-year-old lifeguard. Their lives become intertwined -- and their troubling truths are revealed.
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Published June 1st 1999 by Atheneum Books (first published May 1st 1997)
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Josiah
It's difficult to know exactly what to say about this book. As an author, James Howe is frequently in prime position on the literary vanguard, trying daring new things and writing books that are uniquely built to very unexpected endings. In this, his first bona fide young adult novel, we are given something like a cross between authors Kevin Henkes and Robert Cormier, a combination that I never expected to ever see.

As unique as all of James Howe's writing is, The Watcher is probably the most u...more
Nicole
Page 69:

Sarah: Why are they getting a divorce?

Callie: They're tired of each other, I guess. You know how you have a favorite doll and you think if you ever lose her you'll die? But then you get a new doll for your birthday or something?

Sarah: Christmas.

Callie: Or Hanukkah. Anyway, so now this new doll is your favorite and you don't care about the old one anymore ad you could even give her away if you had to.

Sarah: I could never give one of my dolls away. I don't care if she wasn't my favorite an...more
Karen
This is an interesting novel when I saw the title at the first time. “The Watcher.” First thing I think of the book is about a girl which just judge by its cover. And that girl is being a watcher because she’s alone, and she doesn’t have the things other people have, she just can watch other people’s happiness. I was kind of right by judging its cover page. However, the more interesting of this novel is it talks about three characters, although they are not connect to each other, but they all s...more
Jessica Ng
I found this book from Alexandra when I went to her goodreads profile. The book seemed pretty thin and the cover sort of attracted my attention, but I thought it was kind of creepy. I would recommend this book to anyone in my advisory.
This book is about a girl, Margaret who is very shy and quiet. She just sits on the beach everyday and watches the people live their life. I thought it was interesting how the book cover is of a girl, but then its told in the point of view of a boy named Evan who s...more
Hui Lin
This book is about a girl who has a very woeful life. Instead of going out and enjoying her ownlife, she would go to the beach continously to observe other people's life. Then she would write down what she saw and start to write about her own ideal family. It is obvious that something had happened to her. And from her actions, it is also clear that she really wanted to have a happy life with her family, but yet, she is unable to do that.
I enjoyed reading the different perspectives of the charact...more
Luisa
She sits on the stairs at the beach and watches the perfect happy family. She watches the lifeguard like a guardian angel protecting everyone. She writes in her notebook, but she's silent, invisible. Evan sees her as he worries about his family and wishes he was as cool as Chris, the life guard with the mirrored sunglasses. Chris searches for meaning and direction as he talks to Jenny, another guard. Chris sees happy families soaking up the sun and playing in the sand. Chris and Evan both wonder...more
Nikita
May 22, 2014 Nikita rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: High School Students
Recommended to Nikita by: Read for Class
Shelves: lit-circle-books
Every day she sits on the beach, and watches. James Howe writes a remarkable book about a young girl who weaves a fantasy involving the beach-goers lives from her perspective, sitting on the top step of the stairs leading to the ocean front. "The Watcher" is not your typical book; written for young adults, it explores different life styles by diving into the personal lives of the different characters.
The watcher is a girl, about 12 years old, who perches herself on the very top step of the sta...more
Ms. Austin
This book is a bit depressing. There is a story within a story. I like the inferring you do as you read both stories. Even though this is dark and depressing, I really like how the three main characters come together.
Sandy
Margaret is a watcher. She likes to go to the beach and watch people, doesn’t say anything, just watches which starts to creep some people out as there is no words escaping from her lips, no changes in her facial expression, she just watches. Margaret does grab her pad of paper putting her thoughts and feelings down on paper. Then we have Evan who hangs out with his younger sister, Callie. Evan would rather be with people his own age but he feels safer with his sister. Chris is a lifeguard who i...more
Alyanna
This is a young adult fiction novel written by James Howe is about a teenage girl, Margaret, who goes to beach and anticipates other people's lives instead of living her own and she write it down in her notebook. Generally, her life isn't perfect and she abused by her father when she comes home. As a reader, I would define Margaret as a trouble, confused teen because of all the serious events that happen to her in the book.
What I truly liked about this book is the point of view that James Howe m...more
Justin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debdatta D. Sahay (b00k r3vi3ws)
This is indeed one of those books where even while reading it for the first time, you know that you are missing out on something. So, even though I had finished reading this book long time back, but I waited for some time to read it a second time before sitting down to write this review.

At a glance, this is a story of three young people – Chris, Evan & Margaret. Chris has a past with a loss that he is yet to come terms with and works as a lifeguard at the beach. Evan is a young teenager who...more
Erin Brinkley
I would place The Watcher by James Howe in a middle or high school general education teacher’s hands who knows of a student who is dealing with abuse. This book, as well as, the novel Speak by Anderson deals with a young girl being abused by someone she knows. This book could help a student cope with the abuse and feel a connection to the main character in the novel. A guidance counselor may even want to know about this book so he or she could recommend it to a student. I would even recommend th...more
Esther Kim
I chose this book, beacuse I was in the library looking for a book to read for goodreads. When I first saw the cover, it caught my eye,because it looked very mysterious to me. After reading the back, I grabbed the book and immediately checked it out. This book takes place near and on the beach, and revolves around three teenagers named Chris, Evan, and Margaret. Everybody calls Margaret "the watcher," because she sits on the same step every day and watches Chris and Evan on the beach. She then...more
Arianny
The Book Review
The Watcher
By James Howe

This suspensing and jaw-dropping story doesn’t have a film in the making or in the theaters yet but just because it isn’t’ in the theaters doesn’t mean it isn’t a thrilling story. Interestingly “The Watcher” was the very FIRST young adult fiction book that James Howe has published. Secondly coming in place is the book “The Color of Absence: Twelve Stories About Loss and Hope. When Mr. Howe himself was responding to interview question by Scholastic Stude...more
Tiffanyy
This book consists of three different perspective of the three characters. One is Chris, a local lifeguard on the beach, another is the "watcher", she's a teenage girl that sits in the beach alone with her notebook and she would write in it and stare at other families in the beach, yearning for a picture perfect family like theirs because she gets abused by her own family. And the last character is a guy named Evan, a thirteen year old boy that hangs around with his little sister, Callie but Eva...more
Stacy
The sins of the father . . . . (spoilers)

This is a interesting story about two young men and the girl who watches them. Chris has escaped from his father by taking a lifeguarding position on the island. He lives in a house shared by many other lifeguards for the summer. Long before Chris was born, there was another son. Micheal. He drowned in a pool when he went to work with his carpenter father one day. On that day, both the little boy and the father died. Christ feels helpless. He wants to sav...more
Sara
People say you never know someone until you take a walk in their shoes. And in the story The Watcher, this statement rings true. This book follows three young teenagers trying to make their way through life. Chris is a young life guard who seems to have the world in his hands, but a tragedy from the past makes him question everything about his future. Evan is a thirteen year old who adores his family, but when his parents start fighting his world starts to crumble. And lastly, Margaret, she is a...more
Nadia
For whatever reason I can’t recall, I remembered this book as one from my younger days that I loved. So I decided I wanted to reread it. At the start, it’s a fairly decent read, but whatever magic I once found here wasn’t as brilliant the second time around as is with rereading books from the teenage shelf when you’re in your 20’s. Nonetheless, it wasn’t terrible. There were some beautiful moments when the author’s choice of words had you glued to the spot wishing you had come up with that yours...more
Kelly Liang
The book seemed pretty thin and the cover sort of attracted my attention, but I thought it was kind of creepy. I would recommend this book to anyone in my advisory.
This book is about a girl, Margaret who is very shy and quiet. She just sits on the beach everyday and watches the people live their life. I thought it was interesting how the book cover is of a girl, but then its told in the point of view of a boy named Evan who sees her watching him on the beach one day when hes with his family. Eva...more
Cami Beath
The Watcher
By James Howe

I really loved this book! It was very well written. It is obvious that Howe spent a lot a lot of time thinking it through and planning it out. The characters were very real and very tangible. I felt like I could just sit down and talk to any one of them. I was hooked after the first chapter and, now that I’m done, I want to go through it again. I really enjoyed the seemingly separate characters and the clever ways that they are all connected to each other. I thought the t...more
Joanna
The girl, watching the lifeguard and the brother playing with his little sister, thinks they have such wonderful life. The lifeguard watching the boy and that girl, who always watches, also didn't know their life behind everything. The boy seeing that girl, who always watches, and the lifeguard, who he admired, was also another some one who don't know the facts behind these people's life. The girl wanted, so badly, to be in that "wonderful" family, so she writes in her notebook, imagining everyt...more
Maricel
"The sound of the waves on the beach, watching the lifeguard, and everything around me." She has a journal and people stare at her. Is it because she is so beautiful or is it because she is a freak and watches everything? People stare and wonder, what she writes. It's a story a fantasy of her life and her abusive dad. If you want to know what happens i reccomend you read this book. Does she get saved? Does she die because her dad beats her to death, what happens? I learned that you can't judge a...more
Eric
May 03, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This book is about a girl who is very shy, quiet and lonely and she sits on the beach everyday watching boys and girls play with each other. The interesting is that the point of view that the story is told ins't the girl. But instead it is a boy. The boy lives a happy life with his mom, dad and sister. The family decides to go to the beach one day and notices the girl looking at him. He turns around again, but she had disappear. The boy goes on an adventure to find out who this girl really is.
...more
Marck Christopher Abias
I'm not really harsh and cruel to books. Actually, the beginning was quite good and interesting. It was interesting to the point when I was thinking that this book should be written a little longer, I mean more pages. The beginning was good but as I continue to read, sorry but I was disappointed. There were so many conflicts that were not resolved - like Shane, Chris, and many more. The book ended so fast and all it left on its readers was the reality that all the time Margaret was really a sick...more
Ayo Summers
The Watcher by James Howe is about a girl. This girl is very quiet an to herself but sees everything and everyone. From the outside she thinks that those people's lives are prefect little does she know that looks can be deceiving. This book is very interesting because it's told from three perspectives, One being the watcher and the other two being boys she seen on the beach. When it's in the perspective of the watcher everyone's life looks perfect but when you go inside their world you realize h...more
Gabriel Hathaway
Chris, a lifeguard who has never heard his father tell him he loves him, and Evan, an eleven year old boy who fears his parents might divorce, both notice a young girl who says nothing, but watches everything. This mysterious girl never speaks to either of them, but both of them have spoken with her. After several events, twists and turns, these characters come to realize just what love is, and what it most definitely is not.

I truly find this book a hard read. Not because of grammar, spelling, p...more
Rachel
This book was really underdeveloped. There were so many conflicts shared in so little time that I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters. And the writing itself was repetitive and mostly awful. It only took 90 minutes to read, but it wasn't worth even that much time.
Ms. LaPorte
I love the cover design of this book. I picked this book up because the author's name caught my eye - is this the same James Howe who wrote "Bunnicula?" Yes in deed.
I think I was holding my breath the last few pages, at the end I deeply exhaled.


Setting: beach

Three primary characters:
Chris - lifeguard, just graduated from high school - not going to college.
Evan - fourteen, the best big brother, perfect family, but worried about his parents. Evan is reading "Cathcer in the Rye" and hates Holden...more
Lori
I really liked this book, and i loved the style it was written in. it was about a girl who didnt really have friends, so she sat on the beach and took notes on the people that came and went. then, she would write a fantasy story that was based on what she saw. The thing that i loved about this book was that each chapter was about the things that she saw, and then at the end, it was her fantasy story. i could actually relate the "real" things she saw with the fantasy that she wrote. it shows how...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Howe has written more than eighty books in the thirty-plus years he's been writing for young readers. It sometimes confuses people that the author of the humorous Bunnicula series also wrote the dark young adult novel, The Watcher, or such beginning reader series as Pi...more
More about James Howe...
Bunnicula (Bunnicula, #1) Howliday Inn (Bunnicula, #2) The Celery Stalks at Midnight (Bunnicula, #3) The Misfits (The Misfits, #1) Totally Joe (The Misfits, #2)

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“The point is that something I thought was perfect has been broken, and I'm having to find the beauty in what is there instead of what I thought was there. Like this shell. I can either spend all my time wishing it were perfect, trying to imagine it the way it was or might have been, or I can see how beautiful it is just like this. ” 7 likes
“We all start out thinking that there is such a thing as perfection and that there's something wrong with us if we settle for less. First we won't eat the food with the brown spots. Then we hate ourselves because we have our own brown spots—pimples or ears that are too big or legs that are too skinny.” 5 likes
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