by Ellen Wittlinger

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"You shouldn't expect much of him. He's...he's damaged." Damaged. What a horrible word. Like a car after a wreck...It was how I'd been feeling myself. Slightly ruined, a big mess.

Lately there have been a lot of guys in Sandpiper's life. In the past year, she's gone through eight or nine different boyfriends -- if you can call them that. She knows the boys are only using her for one thing, but she is using them, too.
    The Walker is different from the others. He is kind and gentle. Mysterious. And most of all, he is the first guy who doesn't want Sandy for all the usual reasons. In fact, she's not sure if he wants her for any reason.
     But she knows she wants to be around him. He makes her feel safe, when all the other parts of her life -- like her family and friends -- just make her feel awful. And when one of Sandy's exes starts harassing her, the Walker may be the only person who can help Sandy confront her uneasy past -- and steady herself for a different future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439115794
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of the teen novels Parrotfish, Blind Faith, Sandpiper, Heart on My Sleeve, Zigzag, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award winner), and its sequel Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story. She has a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. A former children’s librarian, she lives with her husband in Haydenville, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I met the Walker three weeks before my mother's wedding, but I'd seen him lots of times before that. Everybody saw him. You couldn't help it.

It seemed like he just showed up one day and started walking all over town. No certain path -- you'd see him everywhere, way in the west end near the Y, all the way south on Beggar's Point by Pickford's Fish, or sometimes stalking through the cemetery on the top of Rhodes Hill. He didn't walk fast or slow, just at a regular pace, like he had someplace to go but wasn't in a big hurry to get there. Nobody knew his name, so we started calling him the Walker.

You noticed him because he was tall and skinny, and even though he didn't walk fast, he covered ground quickly with his long stride. His dark hair curled around his earlobes and down his neck, and he always wore the same ancient brown leather jacket, his long arms sticking about four inches out of the sleeves. The day I met him it was almost warm out, and he had his coat unzipped. I was with this guy Andrew down at Blessingame Park, and we were arguing.

To tell the story right, I need to back up a little. The thing is, even though he was a very annoying person, I'd hooked up with Andrew for a couple of days. We'd go to his house after school because his parents worked late. Colleen, my mother, was way too discombobulated about her upcoming wedding to inquire about my after-school activities.

I don't know why I went with Andrew. I was never particularly attracted to him, but every time I saw him he'd tell me he thought I was hot. He'd come up behind me and rub his thigh against mine while I was getting stuff out of my locker.

I'm not stupid.I knew why he wanted me to go home with him, and I was up for it right away. I usually am up for it. The thing is, I love the beginning stuff when the guy is so anxious and can hardly wait to be alone with me, can hardly wait to have me touch him. All that expectation is very exciting. And it makes me feel like I'm in control of the whole situation. He needs me so much.

But it always ends up the same way. Eventually it's clear that what he really needs is for me to put my mouth around his dick. After a minute or two of this I become anonymous. To the guy and to myself. Andrew (or whoever) is lost inside himself, waiting to be shaken by his own little volcano, and I'm thinking, Who is this girl kneeling on the floor with some weird guy's bone in her mouth? It's like I'm not even there anymore.

It all started in the eighth grade. That year all of a sudden you had to have a boyfriend -- you had to, or you just felt worthless. My best friends, Melissa and Allie, and I spent hours talking about how to get guys to like us.

Melissa was the first one to figure out a foolproof method. Allie and I were disgusted when she confessed to us why Tim McIlhenny was following her around like an imprinted duck. But after a few weeks of listening to Melissa's detailed instructions, we both decided to give it a try. Who knew? Obviously, the way to an eighth-grade boy's heart was through the zipper of his jeans. It probably wasn't the only way, but it was the only way we knew.

Tony Phillips was my slave for two months. He even took me to the Christmas dance that year. Some days I felt like a princess and some days I felt like a prostitute, but every day I felt popular. I went from Tony to Chris to Evan. And kept on going. Melissa assured Allie and me that lots of other girls were doing the same thing we were (although I never knew who), which is what I planned to tell my parents if they ever found out. But they never did.

In high school things changed -- at least for Melissa and Allie. They took honors classes, joined the student council and the field hockey team, and got real boyfriends who stuck around for a while. We didn't hang out so much anymore. For me there was always another guy, and then another. I don't know why things changed for them but not for me. What I do know is that after a week or so with a guy, even somebody I was crazy about to begin with, I couldn't stand him anymore. With Andrew it took only three days.

That's what we were arguing about in Blessingame Park.

"You liked me well enough on Tuesday," he said.

"Yeah, well, today is Thursday," I told him. "A lot can happen in two days."

"Like what? You're with somebody else now?"

"Jesus, Andrew, I was never with you! Did you think we were engaged?"

"Screw you, Sandy."

I gave him a forlorn look. "Oh, I bet you wish you could!"

His face turned bright red, and his nose twisted up so I could see into his nostrils. "You are such a slut!" he shrieked, his voice breaking into a falsetto over the horror that was me.

Just about that time I noticed the Walker coming up the hill in back of Andrew. He must have heard Andrew shrieking at me, because he was staring right at us. Without really thinking about it too much, I waved at him and yelled out, "Hey! I've been waiting for you!"

He looked surprised, but he didn't say anything. His hair was flopping into his face as if he hadn't had a haircut in ages.

"Come here!" I yelled again. I thought, if he came over, great; if not, I was no worse off.

Andrew turned to see who I was talking to. "What are you calling him over for?"

"Because!" God, Andrew not only couldn't take a hint -- he couldn't take a brickbat to the head.

The Walker strode over and stood next to me, his eyes asking what this was all about. Andrew backed up to stare -- the Walker was quite a bit taller. "I know you. You're that guy who just wanders around town all the time."

"Yeah, I walk around a lot. Who are you?"

Andrew sputtered. "Well, why should I tell you?"

"You shouldn't. You should probably just leave."

Ha! He got it! He was following my lead!

"I should leave?" Andrew stood there with his mouth flapping in the breeze. Repartee is not his strong suit. "I mean, you're the one who should leave. Right?" He looked at me.

I was so sick of this guy. How could I have spent three entire afternoons with him? I stepped closer to the Walker and put my hand on his wrist. "Actually, no, he shouldn't," I said. I could feel the muscles tighten in his arm, but he didn't move.

Once again, Andrew couldn't get his mind around a complete thought. "What? You don't you way!"

The Walker placed his hand over my hand, but he didn't say anything.

Finally, Andrew had had enough. "I don't know why I ever went out with you anyway, Sandy. Derek told me you were a bitch, and he was right!"

"Bite me, Andrew!" I yelled back. "Derek is as pathetic as you are." Derek. Last week's loser. Another guy I never should have gotten involved with.

Andrew stalked out of the park and down Front Street.

As soon as Andrew was out of sight, the Walker let go of my hand and I released his arm.

"Thanks," I said. "Sorry about that."

He shrugged again. "No problem." And he started to walk away.

"Hold on. Can we talk a minute? Or something?" Two minutes ago I'd decided to swear off boys -- I didn't need the aggravation -- and then the Walker showed up. It's so easy for me to get interested in a boy; all he has to do is look at me. Not that the Walker had actually looked at me, but he was sort of my superhero savior. Or he would have been if Andrew had been evil instead of just a creep.

"I like to keep moving," he said.

"Well, can I walk with you a little while?"

He didn't say anything, but then he gave another shrug -- apparently this was his primary means of communication, the I-don't-care shrug. It wasn't exactly a warm invitation, but I took it anyway, and we started walking out of the park in the opposite direction from the one that Andrew had taken.

"I've seen you walking around town," I said.

"I guess everybody has."

"How come you walk so much?"

Another shrug. "I like walking. I notice things."

He didn't seem to be noticing me all that much. "What's your name?"

He shook his head. "It's not important."

I laughed. "It must be some regular, common name then, because if it was as stupid as my name, it would be very important, believe me."

He looked at me for the first time -- at least I'd accomplished that. "Why? What's your name?"

Normally I dread this moment when meeting somebody new, but this time I was glad I had something to say that would get his attention, maybe even stop the Walker in his tracks.

"Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale."

A hint of a smile crossed his face, but he kept on walking. "Did you just make that up?"

"I wish! That's my honest-to-God name. Hollow in the middle, like a cheap chocolate Easter bunny." I've used that line many times -- it usually gets a laugh.

He smiled again, but not in my direction. "Your parents must have had a good reason for naming you that. Or an odd sense of humor."

"Both. They met on this beach on Cape Cod called Sandpiper Hollow. Colleen stepped on a broken shell and cut her foot. Love walked in and kissed her boo-boo, and they named their firstborn child after the unforgettable moment."

The Walker nodded. "Makes a good story."

"Yeah, with a terrible ending! Just because two people manage to make a baby, I don't think they should have the right to give it a name that's just an inside joke between the two of them, which, once they get divorced, won't be all that funny anymore."

"Parents divorced?"

"Years ago. A sandpiper is a bird, you know."

"I know."

"I guess I'm lucky they didn't name me Nuthatch or Buzzard or something."

"Or Woodpecker," the Walker said. Hey, he could make a joke.

"Or Cuckoo," I continued.

"Or Cedar Waxwing."

"Cedar what?"

"Cedar Waxwing."

"That's a bird? I never heard of that one. I kind of like it though. Hello, my name is Cedar Waxwing. I like it!"

The Walker pointed toward an old broken wire fence behind a new ranch house. "Did you know there's an old rail bed back there? You can follow it from Hammond all the way up to Barlow."

"No, I didn't know that." I hated being interrupted when I was on a roll about the injustice of my name.

"I walk it at least once a week."

"The whole thing? It must be five or six miles."

"Seven and a half each way," he said.


Of course, he answered with a shrug. "Why not?"

I sighed. He liked being a puzzle. And he certainly didn't seem interested in me. Maybe he wasn't worth the effort. "Don't you drive anywhere? How old are you?"

His head jerked up as if he'd seen something in the road, but there was no traffic on this street in the middle of the afternoon. Finally he said, "I'm eighteen, but I don't drive. I don't even ride in cars."

"What? You're crazy!"

He glanced at me and smiled. I liked that smile. "Probably," he said. "I hate cars."

"How can you hate cars! In four weeks I can get my license. I'm counting the days! I'll be free!"

"Walking gives you freedom."

I shook my head. "It's not the same."

He was quiet for a moment. Then he said, "So, people call you Sandy."

"How do you know that?"

"That's the name your...your friend used."

"First of all, that jerk is not my friend. And second, I hate the name Sandy. It's the name of Little Orphan Annie's dog. The kids at school use it, but I make my parents call me Sandpiper since they're the ones who stuck me with the name to begin with."

I swear a little grunt of laughter escaped from the guy. "So, that wasn't your boyfriend, huh?"

My face crinkled in disgust. "Boyfriend? God, no. He's just somebody I hooked up with for a few days. I hardly even know him. He's nobody."

But the Walker had stopped listening to me; he'd actually stopped walking. He bent down to the street to examine some black lines. "Somebody put on their brakes really hard here. Took the corner too fast. These skid marks weren't here yesterday." He shook his head. "This is a blind corner too. I hope nobody got hurt."

I looked around. "I don't think I've ever been on this street."

"We're just down from Davis Avenue. You know, you better go on back. I'll lead you right out of town if you're not careful." He stood up and stared at me with eyes that were suddenly dull, like the lights had gone off behind them.

"I don't care! I like walking -- "

He shook his head and looked back down at the tire marks. "Not today."

"Really! I can -- "

"No! Go back now," he ordered. He seemed to be shivering. Even though it wasn't cold, he zipped up his coat. "Maybe I'll see you another time."

"Well, I mean, where?" Dammit. My skinny hero was brushing me off.

A shrug. "You'll see me." He started across the side street.

"I don't even know your name," I said.

"You don't need to," he called back. "I'll remember yours."

Black and White

Look more closely -- you're missing the mystery. My behavior is no more my story than a chalk outline on pavement.

If you were a cat, you would be black and white, not entirely unlucky, but suspicious anyway.

Not a loner, just alone.

Look more closely -- I'm dressed in bright red so I won't disappear! Please confess if you hear me or see me.

If you were a cat, you would see through me, front to back, my sighs and wonders. Black and white, you would not run.

-- Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale

Copyright © 2005 by Ellen Wittlinger

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Sandpiper 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Book_WhispererJO More than 1 year ago
This book was very difficult to find a book description to preview here with this review. The one above I felt just does not do this book justice, so here is a little more description about this story. Sandpiper is 15 years old, and found her way into a dangerous lifestyle. In attempts to replace the hole her father seems to be leaving in her life; she has become very promiscuous with many young men in her life. The charged emotions that accompanied sexual acts allowed her to feel, at least for the moment, that she was loved and adored. While she is still a virgin; she is far from innocent. After Piper's last break up things have begun to unravel leaving a desire for change in its wake. She soon finds that the past is a hard thing to overcome. When her last boyfriend decides that she must pay for breaking his heart; she not only finds herself in danger, but also her family and more importantly her thirteen year old sister. In the midst of the story Sandpiper finds herself drawn to one particular young boy that is known as "The Walker"; her attraction to this young boy as her caught off guard when it is nothing like what she has experienced in the past. Aidan, aka The Walker, is a loner that is only known for his constant walking of their small town. When Sandpiper drags him into an altercation with her ex boyfriend it sparks a friendship that they never knew would lead them both into a world of trouble. Aidan has his own secrets that he has struggled to leave hidden, but his friendship with Sandpiper gains him some unwanted attention. When Aidan finds that he is no longer the loner with no name he knows that it is time to go, but it seems that he has more trouble leaving than was expected. Although, what Aidan fears most just might be what he needed to save him. Wittlinger adds depth to her story by following each chapter with a poem written by Piper. This gives the readers more insight into the characters feelings and thoughts; kind of like foot notes to each section of the story. Sandpiper is a very realistic story that gives readers a shocking glimpse of today's societies kids. This story portrays just how easy it is for a young girl to find herself in a position such as this one. The promiscuity of this story is a little hard to handle in parts, but it seems necessary in establishing the true nature of this story.
litelady-ajh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I forget what it was like being a teen and all that goes with it. I have learned to like reading YA books like this one, 'cause I have a 15 year old daughter and I really need to remember what it was like to be one. Thanks Erin for re-introducing me over the last year to some great YA fiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PushFiction More than 1 year ago
I like the way this book is written,I tells of a girl named Sandpiper and how she kinda"get's around" and how she finds herself just by deciding to follow a guy around,I loved this book.It tells about self acceptance and confidence and being content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anotherYALSAauthor More than 1 year ago
Honest, entertaining, and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper, it's one of those, bring it when your trapped on desert island for the rest of your life, books. I absolutely loved it. Everyone knows someone, or of someone with the reputation that the main character, Sandpiper, has. The girl with the reputation to skip from one boy to the next. This book sort of gives you different view of someone you'd normally look down upon. That is why I loved it, it made me change the way I think. It's the story of a girl thats misunderstood, which in my opinion is understandable to any adolescence at one point or another. This great book has the oh so delightful teenage sarcasm that I love throughout it, even in climactic points in the book that make the suspense bearable. Sandpiper's feelings of being misunderstood, fear, apprehension, and the pain that secrets sometime bring are completely understandable 'at least to me' they're the key reasons why I loved this book. The story of a girl whose 'bad habits' are not only costing her well being, but her family's and the only boy who isn't a mistake, seemed like a good story to me plus its humorous feel made it a book that won't go back on my bookshelf just yet. p.s I'd recommend it to adolescence. Only because it would seem more relatable to them but I guess all adults had their day too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Omg! i loved this book. Sandpiper is an amazing and easy understanding book. Sandpiper explains how a teenager can have a bad repution but be a good girl. Sandpiper believes all guys only use her for one thing but she uses them, also. But when she saw this one guy it changed, this mysterious guy...Walker. I recommand that all teenage girls to read this book if you are like me you wouldnt be able to put the book back down. You'll get sucked right into it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is extremely good. When I began to read it, I just could not put the book down. It has a very informative message that the story puts across to the reader. The book is about this fifteen year-old girl, who is telling the story. She is trying to figure out life. I don't want to give to much away. The book is very easy to read and understand. It is about stuff that happens in teenagers lives now. The characters in this book are like normal people some are nice and some you can just understand why you would want to hit them. I would definetly recomend it to all of my friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good girl with a bad reputation. There have been eight or nine different guys Sandpiper has been involved with in the past year. But finally she meets the mysterious Walker. He doesn't want her for the action she gave the other guys, but does he even want her at all? Whether the Walker wants her or not he may be the only person who can save her from her ex-boyfriend who is seriously harassing her. This is an great read for any teenage girl. Girls who have bad reputations when they are actually good kids might enjoy reading this book. I felt like I could relate to this book. Ellen Wittlinger did a great job letting me into Sandpiper's head, so I got to see what she was feeling. I give Sandpiper four stars because it was a suspenseful novel that I couldn't put down. I recommend this book to mainly teenage girls who feel like they're the only ones who are judged by their friends and used by their boyfriends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There have been a lot of guys in Sandpiper's life. She knows that the eight or nine different boys in the past month have been using her. Has she been using them? One the other hand, The Walker, a mysterious man that befriends her, is different. He understands her, and doesn't date her for the reasons the others do. He makes her feel she is someone and not just an object for the boys. When one of Sandpipers ex's starts harassing her and her family, will the Walker be able to leave his past behind and help her? Or will he just be one of those guys? Will she get through her troubled ex's games? In the end will she know who the real her is, or is she still going to fall for the 'bad boys?' I read this book and I was amazed at her life. I was amazed at how true this book was to some teen girls in real life. I recommend this book to all teenage girls to young adult girls. This book will make you think twice for dating the guys you think are 'perfect.' I rate this Ellen Wittlinger book five stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper can't stand her ex-boyfriend (just one of 8-9), but when Derek starts harassing her and her family, who can Sandpiper trust? Then she meets The Walker. When everything else Sandpiper loves falls through her fingers, is The Walker the only person she can trust? I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. This is probably the best book I ever read. It's so intriguing and it deals with problems that some teens have. I liked it a lot because the characters were so different from others in different books. I think Ellen Wittlinger should write a sequel to Sandpiper. I recommend this book to every teen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper has had eight or nine different boyfriends in the past year ¿ if you can call them that. But after she meets the Walker, things change. He is different from all the other guys. He is the first guy Sandpiper doesn't fall for, for the usual reasons. During the book, one of Sandpiper's ex's starts to harass her and plays all these little evil schemes on her and her life. The Walker, a friend, is the only one she feels safe with and the only one that can actually help her. I personally think Ellen Wittlinger did a tremendous job on writing this book and is a fantastic author. This book was hard to put down after just reading the first page. Once you start you just can't stop until you finish it. I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper is a girl who has a complicated teen life. She dates many different guys but ends up getting herself into trouble. These guys that she's dated try to get back at her for it, and it goes too far. She's finally learning her lesson until she meets a guy named Walker and everything changes, but is the change really for the better, or the worse? Sandpiper, written by Ellen Wittlinger, also author of the Printz Honor book, Hard Love, is a winner in my eyes. This book taught me so much about myself and also about what teen life could be about. I could connect well with this book to myself because I am also a teen and experiencing some of the same stuff Sandpiper, herself is. I think this book is very well written and has a good plot that shows what could happen if a teen got him or herself into a position like that. I would say that this book is recommended for young adults because some parts included in it are for more mature people whether they're girl or boy. This book is a must read for everyone and when you get the time, you should give it a try!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper was a great book that was hard to put down. I just wanted to keep reading. This book is great for teenagers because so many teens can relate to the problems Sandpiper is going through. I loved the characters of The Walker and Rachel. I was disapointed about the ending of the book. It still leaves a pretty big gap and it doesn't really finish what the book started. other than that i really liked this book and i think all high school students should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! I am totally in love with it! Walker was so great and mysterious. It's about a girl who changes her path in life. a very moving story! I recommend it to anyone who needs a good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book a lot. It had a gripping plot and great events throughout the story that caught my heart and my attention. Sandpiper makes a wonderful transformationa as the book develops and it helps create a great story. I loved this book. It is fo sho a MUST READ! =]
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really liked the book aand story line...i would recommend this book but i hated the ending....what happens wit the trial...and rags....andaiden..and addrianne wit just leaves you wondering so i didnt like that....!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first, at probably about the second page, it's kind of disgusting. But I like how the character changed throughout the book. It was really good. It was sick in some parts, lol. But it was worth reading it! =) I would recomend it to anybody who likes teen books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sandpiper is a great read. It addresses many sensitive issues for teens today. The main character shocks you in the first chapter, but you fall in love with her and wish the best for her through all her struggles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a riveting story- I enjoyed reading it. I couldn't put it down! i finished the book in a half an hour! I'm now reading the book again- just as attached to it as the first time I read it!