Sunday, January 22, 2006


Wittlinger, Ellen. 2005. SANDPIPER. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0689868022 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

After a brief fling with yet another boy, Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale has become weary of her bad reputation. Her best friends have already disowned her because of it, and her most recent ex is beginning to harass her. And Sandpiper’s home life is not going any better. Her mother is busy planning her own wedding, her father is busy with his numerous girlfriends, and her soon-to-be stepsister is busy being too perfect. Almost as though to distract herself, Sandpiper meets the Walker. Everybody in town recognizes him, but nobody knows his story; they simply refer to him as the Walker. “It seemed like he just showed up one day and started walking all over town.” As Sandpiper begins to walk alongside him, she tries to learn his secrets. However, he continually evades her questions, leaving her more curious and more suspicious about the secrets he has.

Intermixed with the story are poems that Sandpiper writes. “I write poems constantly...They spurt out of me, and then I feel better about myself. Like, thank God, at least I got that out.” The poems provide a summary of each chapter, and they offer an even deeper glimpse into Sandpiper’s character. Written in first person, SANDPIPER accurately captures the voice of a teenage girl. While readers are cheering for Sandpiper to reclaim her reputation and to change her ways, they will also be rooting for Walker to reveal his story. Through Walker’s character, Wittlinger weaves mystery into a story about overcoming personal pasts. With intrigue, romance, and humor, SANDPIPER is a story about tackling personal demons and learning about human relationships.

Each chapter in the book ends with a poem. Encourage readers to try expressing themselves through poetry and other methods such as drawing, sculpting, journaling, etc.

Other books by Ellen Wittlinger:
HARD LOVE. ISBN 068984154X

By Mary D. Buckalo

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