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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  73,451 Ratings  ·  2,957 Reviews
A vicious captain, a mutinous crew and a young girl caught in the middle. 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 hou ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by HarperCollins (first published 1990)
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Andrew
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale A girl who goes to sea as the only girl on the boat and becomes part of the crew and then was accused of murder by the captain. I didn't like the main…moreA girl who goes to sea as the only girl on the boat and becomes part of the crew and then was accused of murder by the captain. I didn't like the main character at first, she was whiny and annoying, but she gets better!(less)

Community Reviews

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trivialchemy
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Audrey
Jul 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Margaret Chind
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
...more
Erin
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure lovers of any age
Shelves: books-i-own
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.

One of my all time favorite books from my childhood. Imagine that paperbacks like this one used to cost Canadians only 4.99! Awww... the 90's! I was a huge fan of Avi when I was in grades 4-6 and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was my #1 favorite. I decided to read it to my secondary 1-2
...more
RachelAnne
Jun 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Leona  Carstairs
If I had known how awesome this book is, I might have read it sooner. To be fair, I didn't even know this book existed until recently. It's one of those books in my library that I hadn't noticed, and probably wouldn't have noticed if my sister and friend hadn't read it, loved it and started urging me to pick it up. I'm so glad I listened to their advice and I seriously regret not picking this up sooner!!

This book is SO entertaining and so brilliant and just so good. It's historical fiction, but
...more
Sandi
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jessica
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.
Amy
This book represents so much of my middle school years, and so many day-dreams, that I hardly know where to begin with it. I love this story. In my imagination, I've written countless sequels. Charlotte is my friend and playfellow and her fellow sailors remain some of my favorite people. This book will always be near and dear to my heart.
X
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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.
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
...more
Tracy
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
amandalee
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale
At first, the main character, Charlotte, really made me annoyed. But in the end...I really liked her.
Amy Gonzalez
May 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  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
...more
Chelsea
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
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
...more
Caitlin Anderson
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a kid and decided it was time for a reread. Is it absurd that Charlotte goes so quickly from well-bred Victorian girl to being part of the sailing crew? Yes. Is it just as delightful as I remembered? Also yes.
Natasha
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was a good book. I am not a big fan of historical fiction but I liked this book.
Daisy Paquet
Holy cow. Quite interesting. I'm still recovering. I... I'm not sure if I liked it or not...
Holly Fish
I very rarely give out 5 stars, so get thee to a bookshop and read this riveting, coming of age, adventure of a young girl!
Jill Wallace
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is really good. I enjoyed watching the changes in Charlotte throughout the book.
Hilary Forrest
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first reading of Charlotte Doyle. I'm not sure how I missed this in my childhood. I read it aloud to the kids and we really enjoyed it. In fact, I read for two hours this morning just because it was too exciting to stop. We loved the adventure, it was fast moving and kept us wondering how the story would unfold.
Carrie Slager
Feb 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-borrowed
Not every thirteen-year-old girl narrator is a Mary Sue who annoys me. But Charlotte Doyle was just such a girl, and my opinions are worth relating even if I doubt people will listen. Be warned, however: If strong ideas and action interest you, read no more. Find a different companion that doesn’t waste precious hours of your life. For my part I intend to tell the boring, disappointing truth as I see it.

You may begin writing your hate mail now.

I was bored out of my mind while I read this book be
...more
Audra Spiven
I read this for one of my book clubs. I was not impressed. For one thing, I think I'm getting tired of adolescent fiction. It can be zipped through, but it does not satisfy in the least. Since this one won't warrant a legit review on my blog, I'll go ahead and sum up here why I didn't enjoy it very much.

I'll start, however, with the one good thing I have to say about it. The author is male, and the protagonist is a female. The narrative is written in first person, and I must admit that I though
...more
Leanna
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ellinor
Oh how I love this kind of book: children's historical fiction in combination with an adventure story and a strong female heroine! Of course, reading this book as an adult, many things seem a little unrealistic and the heroine at times seems quite naive. But the book is written for children and they just love this kind of thing. And Charlotte also is a child; of course she would rather trust in the captain, a person who reminds her of her father, and not in the sailors. This also explains the wa ...more
Rob
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-lit
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
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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 popular among readers young and old.
More about Avi

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“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.” 122 likes
“A sailor may choose the wind to ride out of seaport, but the wind has a mind of it's own.” 27 likes
More quotes…