Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” as Want to Read:
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  61,780 ratings  ·  2,331 reviews
An ocean voyage of unimaginable consequences... 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. Be warned, however: If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend t ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by HarperTrophy (first published 1990)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Rebecca Weston They probably just waited around for the departure date. When you work on a ship and you dock, that's exactly what you do. Then again they would've…moreThey probably just waited around for the departure date. When you work on a ship and you dock, that's exactly what you do. Then again they would've have to have done that, because Charlotte got back on.(less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerDivergent by Veronica Roth
Best Young Adult Books
100th out of 9,404 books — 63,246 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Favorite books from my childhood
115th out of 3,190 books — 6,083 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Middle school girls who know nothing whatsoever of history will undoubtedly find this book utterly enthralling. I won't deny that the story is paced well and the prose is well constructed. The problem is, it has no internal integrity. Books with talking animals and intergalactic travel require less suspension of disbelief. Charlotte makes a completely implausible personality shift. An etiquette-obsessed, "well-bred," snobbish, wealthy Victorian girl, in a fit of remorse, suddenly rejects her soc ...more
This book just flashed into my mind this evening unbidden. I can't believe how completely I had forgotten it. But for several years after I just started to read YA novels, I thought this book was the epic shit. And it has a heroine! And she's good for something besides good manners! Either this is way out of character for me, or perhaps as a ten year old I wasn't a cranky misogynist (unlikely).

I also read some of the other reviews here for this book, and I have to say, on behalf of ten year-old
When I was about 12 or 13 years old I read this book. Before this book, I had read all other required material but was not a passionate or avid reader. After this book I have a passion for reading and literature that is very strong. I love the adventure and the imaginative dreams that follow such an adventure. There are so many books that my mind is open up to now, and I really cannot imagine the idea of not loving to read.

If you have a pre-teen girl, that does not like to read currently... I st
Dec 03, 2007 Sandi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 10 & up
Set in England in the 1830’s, this high suspense historical fiction story takes place on a ship carrying thirteen year-old Charlotte Doyle, a young lady of proper upbringing, home to her family in Providence, Rhode Island. There is high suspense as the tale unfolds and Charlotte is accused of murder. Charlotte learns a valuable lesson about not judging people based on first impressions or positions of authority. The book has won many awards including the Boston Globe – Horn Book Award, Newberry ...more
Jun 18, 2007 RachelAnne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventure-hungry middle school girls.
Avi is an incredibly accomplished author, and this smoothly written work is well-constructed with a good dose of adventure. However, I disliked the heroine intensely and found it extremely implausible that a young lady of her disposition and upbringing should so utterly and permanently reject nearly all societal mores and roles she was taught to revere in such a short time period. Moreover, it was absolutely unbelievable that the crew would accept her offer to work as a sailor. I thought Charlot ...more
Is it possible that I have never reviewed this book?! Or maybe I've just reviewed another edition? Whatever the case, this book is fantastic! A young, respectable girl returning from her English boarding school to her home in Massachusetts ends up caught in the middle of a mutiny, and pressed into service as a sailor. Wonderfully descriptive, with meticulous detail about life on board a ship, readers of all ages and sexes can enjoy this book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2008 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children who will grow up to read Harlequin romances
This book is also part of my Newbery quest. To be honest, I don't know how this book won. It reminded me of nothing so much as a sanitized Moll Flanders for children (no prostitution). It has that antiquated-pulp feel, implausible and sensationalistic. No child of her age in that era would have been sent to travel alone without a chaperone, there would have been a backup plan if anything went wrong, neither the story nor Charlotte's physical and personal changes could have occurred in the less t ...more
Jul 23, 2008 X rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to X by: Honey
This isn't something I would have read if the librarian hadn't handed it to me, but I'm glad she did. Charlotte's struggle to decide who to trust was intriguing, and the description of the ship, complete with an appendix and drawings was excellent. It was an exciting and also thoughtful book.
Amy Gonzalez
May 26, 2013 Amy Gonzalez rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle schoolers into adventure books
Mutiny! A hurricane at sea! A 13 year old girl in a tall ship surrounded by seasoned and brutish sailors! This book definitely has some exciting elements going for it. Yet, it all falls sort of flat.

A big reason for this is because the protagonist, Charlotte Doyle, is a weak character. Ironically, the book is structured according to her character development. In Part One, she is a snobby girl concerned with manners and status who looks down upon the crew. In Part Two, she is wearing a sailor's
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
It is 1832 and thirteen year old Charlotte Doyle is making her way to her family’s home in Rhode Island from England, having finished her schooling. The voyage does not have an auspicious beginning – the two families who were meant to travel with her do not appear, so she is left without a guardian or supervision on board a merchant vessel whose captain everyone seems to want to avoid.

The environment of the ship is new and scary but, although frightened, Charlotte keeps her wits and her manners
This is a great book! I rated it a four because the ending is just a little too unexpected. Don't get me wrong, it's not a disappointing ending, you should definitely read it if you're into adventure, scandal, or pirates. I just don't think it's the best book in the world - the best book in the world would be Harry Potter.

So there's this girl named Charlotte Doyle and her family decides to move from England to Rhode Island in 1832. The only thing is, they leave Charlotte there to finish the scho
I have now read this novel, well, 13 times. Wait! Thirteen times? How can that be? And why? This novel is okay, but it is definitely not of a "read thirteen times" caliber.

The first reading was when I was a sixth grade student; it was a class novel. Inspired by the novel, my classmates and I signed a round robin in an attempt to overthrow our teacher. We knew that the crew was on to something, and like them, we were dissatisfied with our "captain". And, like the crew, we failed. After scribblin
When 13-year-old Charlotte Doyle embarks on a voyage across the Atlantic, little does she know that she is about to have the adventure of her life. The ship on which she sails is led by a ruthless captain and a disgruntled crew who would like nothing better than to mutiny. As unrest and danger begin to grow onboard, Charlotte must let go of her prim and proper upbringing and take sides before she herself becomes a victim of the sea.

This book is one of my top 5 favorite MG books of all time. The
May 29, 2007 Chelsea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens, lovers of piratesque books
Shelves: ya, favorites
I have read this book so many times. Once I start it, I absolutely can't put it down. I started out borrowing it from my library all the time, until finally I found my own copy. It's my favorite book by Avi, who is truly a very gifted storyteller.

The book focuses on 13-year-old Charlotte Doyle, making the passage (alone) from England to Providence, Rhode Island, to be reunited with her family. They've taken care of all the arrangements, booking her passage aboard the Seahawk. But from the momen
Tara Chevrestt
This is my favorite book from my pre teen years and nineteen years later, I sat down to re read it. It is still just as good.

Charlotte Doyle is a thirteen year old young lady traveling via ship from England to America in 1832. She is the only female on board and she is surrounded by a very angry, rough crew. The captain, tho charming at first, shows his true colors and a ship mutiny occurs. Charlotte learns a hard lesson that people are not always they seem.

Then, this young lady dons a pair of
Newbury Town Library Youth Services
This past Halloween, I had the pleasure of talking to one of my patrons about her costume, which she informed she dressed as a female pirate. Her mother then added that her daughter researches all her costumes, and this one came from a certain lady-of-the-night, who worked her way on to a boat, only to take it over from the male crew. Be still my youth service's heart! I exclaimed: Have you read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle?!?! To which they replied, No.

They must! You must!

While Char
Get more reviews like this at

What a fun children's book! I really wish I would've found this book at say age 12 or 13. I would've read it over and over. What's better than a spoiled prissy rich girl turned pirate/sailor who (view spoiler). The ending was nothing but perfect, and if it would've end
This one sat on my shelf for a while because it's, you know, girly. Turns out, though, my apprehension was misplaced. It's got a strong female protagonist, true, but there's enough high-seas action to appeal to male readers, and it's clear that Avi did his research, which I found to be the most interesting thing. Combine this book with Dan Simmons' The Terror, and I now know more about the life of the 19th Century sailor than I ever thought possible. So yeah – great stuff here that also manages ...more
We are doing persuasive/argumentative writing in my fourth grade class and I splurged and bought 15 of the recommended books of 2012. They are writing letters telling me why they should be the first to get a specific book. I had a student tell me she didn't want to read any of them because they didn't have enough action and mystery. And she doesn't like graphic novels. So when I read the teaser of this book it sounded perfect, but I had never read the book so I did so last night. I am recommendi ...more
Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall
Apr 24, 2014 Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls and boys of whatever age, esp. readers of thrillers e.g. Treasure Island. Recommended!
At last (just neglect the fact this was published in the nineteen-nineties)a book that does not subscribe to the theology that life on ship is a darling, adventurous romp. The True Confessions clears that nonsensical ballywag up quick from climbing the mainsails with almost fatal consequences, to life on ship and mutiny. Not pleasant.

Character development is a primary component, of which I am a proponent (Look! Assonance :D) of, and naturally I loved that portion of it. Our eponymous protagonist
A I was one of my favorite authors when I was in elementary school. Now I finally read the true confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which I hadn't had the chance to read before. Charlotte really annoyed me at the beginning, particularly because her personality is pretty much the opposite of mine. She always has to do exactly as she's told, and she's way too concerned with making sure people know their place. She completely ignores one of the sailors simply because he is an old black man and automati ...more
Brynne Ellertson
Jan 31, 2014 Brynne Ellertson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy adventure
Recommended to Brynne by: Former Teacher
I thought that this book was very good. I don’t like reading very much but this book really kept me going with everything that happened in it. It is a very adventurous book with a lot of unexpected turns, some of them even a little creepy. The author did a great job developing the main characters of Charlotte, Captain Jaggery, and Zachariah. It was especially interesting to follow the development of Charlotte’s friendship with Zachariah. As a thirteen year-old girl, I could relate to how Charlot ...more
I've been on a serious nautical kick lately! I was a little disappointed in this book, and perhaps it suffered in comparison with the Bloody Jack series I've been reading at the same time. I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, but my biggest problem was that I felt like the characters and the plot lacked some integrity. The crew takes Charlotte into their midst, but suddenly fails to support her at a crucial moment, and she's left to her own devices? Charlotte also seemed a little unbelievable in some w ...more
This book is a treacherous, adventurous book. Once you pick it up, you can't put it down until you have finished it.
This was the worst book I had the displeasure of reading. I cannot think of a single book I struggled getting through more than this one. I was forced to read this atrocity of literature in grade 7 and since I still have yet to find a book I genuinely hated reading more than this one, and that is saying something. I have always been an avid reader who was willing to read any book in any genre and I had never found a book I couldn't at least muster up some respect for, until this book. Maybe it w ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've read five Avi novels. This is a surprise to me.

Why so? Well, for one, Avi certainly has undeniable range. I've read from him a twisty Middle Ages mystery (Midnight Magic), a striking modern age morality tale (Nothing But the Truth), a meta schoolyard romance comedy (Romeo and Juliet-- Together (And Alive!) At Last, a cutesy anthropological mouse-hits-the-big-city tale (Ragweed... and now The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a 19th century sea adventure.

But it's more than just genre vari
Jul 13, 2010 Janeen-san rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kendall, Ari, Nick,
Shelves: should-i-read
This book was amazing! My mom read it to us over the month of June. It tells the thrilling story of Charlotte Doyle, a 13-year-old "lady" of high society, and her adventure sailing--the only passenger--on a ship to America. (Though American born, she went to school in England.)
On board the ship, she learns to that everyone is not always what they seem; that the lines between high class and lower class people are just plain silly.
But most of all, she finds true friends (and enemies)--and uncovers
Small Review

The year is 1832 and thirteen year old Charlotte Doyle finds herself aboard a ship bound to take her from her school in England to her home in America. Charlotte is a proper young lady, bred to be dainty and prim. She is therefore horrified to find that the family who are supposed to serve as her companions on her voyage will not be accompanying her and she will instead be left alone on a ship full of coarse sailors. What ensues, however, goes beyond any of Charlotte’s wildest dreams as
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
WOW!!! 46 167 Oct 14, 2014 06:45PM  
Themes 7 86 Sep 24, 2013 07:11AM  
What's The Name o...: SOLVED: Unknown YA Battle of the Books [s] 3 51 Sep 09, 2013 01:29PM  
YA / MG Read-A-Ho...: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle 1 8 Aug 01, 2013 11:54AM  
  • The Great Fire
  • Catherine, Called Birdy
  • Our Only May Amelia (May Amelia, #1)
  • Sarah Bishop
  • Wolf by the Ears
  • Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind (Shabanu, #1)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery
  • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom
  • Homesick: My Own Story
  • Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison
  • Lyddie
  • Lily's Crossing
  • The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
  • The Misadventures of Maude March
  • Elijah of Buxton
  • Journey Outside
  • The Moorchild
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use."
Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and The Crispin series. His work is very much desired by readers young and old.
More about Avi...
Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1) Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows Midnight Magic

Share This Book

“A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you're abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.” 93 likes
“A sailor may choose the wind to ride out of seaport, but the wind has a mind of it's own.” 23 likes
More quotes…