The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Scholastic Gold)

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Scholastic Gold)

by Avi


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Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now with exclusive bonus content!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

A Newbery Honor Book

* "A thrilling tale, tautly plotted, vividly narrated." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.

But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy... and is put on trial for murder!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545477116
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2012
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 18,469
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

About the Author

Avi's work spans nearly every genre and has received nearly every major prize, including the Newbery Medal for Crispin: The Cross of Lead and Newbery Honors for Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Avi lives in Colorado. You can learn more about him online at

Date of Birth:

December 23, 1937

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

Read an Excerpt

Part One

Chapter One

Just before dusk in the late afternoon of June 16, 1832, 1 found myself walking along the crowded docks of Liverpool, England, following a man by the name of Grummage. Though a business associate of my father, Mr. Grummage was, like my father, a gentleman. It was he my father delegated to make the final arrangements for my passage to America. He was also to meet me when I came down from school on the coach, then see me safely stowed aboard the ship that my father had previously selected.

Mr. Grummage was dressed in a black frock coat with a stove pipe hat that added to his considerable height. His somber, sallow face registered no emotion. His eyes might have been those of a dead fish.

"Miss Doyle?" he said as I stepped from the Liverpool coach.

"Yes, sit. Are you Mr. Grummage?"

"I am."

"Pleased to meet you," I said, dipping a curtsy.

"Quite," he returned. "Now, Miss Doyle, if you would be so good as to indicate which is your trunk, I have a man here to carry it. Next, please oblige me by following, and everything shall be as it is meant to be."

"Might I say good-bye to my chaperon?"

"Is that necessary?"

"She's been very kind."

"Make haste then."

In a flutter of nervousness I identified my trunk, threw my arms about Miss Emerson (my sweet companion for the trip down), and bid her a tearful farewell. Then I rushed after Mr. Grummage, who had already begun to move on. A rough-looking porter, laboring behind, carried my trunk upon his back.

Our little parade reached dockside in good order. There I became instantly agog at the mass of ships that lay before us,masts and spars thick as the bristles on a brush. Everywhere I looked I saw mountains of rare goods piled high. Bales of silk and tobacco! Chests of tea! A parrot! A monkey! Oh yes, the smell of the sea was intoxicating to one who knew little more than the smell of the trim cut lawns and the fields of the Barrington School. Then too, the surging crowds of workers, sailors, and merchants-all rough-hewn, brawny men--created an exotic late afternoon hubbub. All in all it was a most delicious chaos, which, while mildly menacing, was no less exciting because of that. Indeed, in some vague way I had the feeling that it was all there for me.

"Mr. Grummage, sit," I called over the din. "What is the name of the ship I'm to sail on?"

Mr. Grummage paused briefly to look at me as though surprised I was there, to say nothing of asking a question. Then from one of his pockets he drew a screw of paper. Squinting at it he pronounced, "The Seahawk."

"Is she British or American?"


"A merchant ship?"

"To be sure."

"How many masts?"

"I don't know."

"Will the other families already be on board?"

"I should think so," he answered, exasperation in his voice. "For your information, Miss Doyle, I received word that departure was being put off, but when I checked with the captain directly he informed me that there must have been some misunderstanding. The ship is scheduled to leave with the first tide tomorrow morning. So there can be no delay."

To prove the point he turned to move again. 1, however, unable to quell my excited curiosity, managed to slip in one more question.

"Mr, Grummage, sir, what is the captain's name?"

Mr. Grummage stopped again, frowning in an irritated fashion, but all the same consulted his paper. "Captain Jaggery," he announced and once more turned to go.

"Here!" the porter exclaimed suddenly. He had come up close and overheard our talk. Both Mr. Grummage and I looked about.

"Did you say Captain Jaggery?" the porter demanded.

"Are you addressing me?" Mr. Grummage inquired, making it perfectly clear that if so, the porter had committed a serious breach of decorum.

"I was," the man said, talking over my head. "And I'm asking if I heard right when you said we was going to a ship mastered by a certain Captain Jaggery." He spoke the name Jaggery as if it were something positively loathsome.

"I was not addressing you," Mr. Grummage informed the man.

"But I hears you all the same," the porter went on, and so saying, he swung my trunk down upon the dock with such a ferocious crack that I feared it would snap in two. "I don't intend to take one more step toward anything to do with a Mr. Jaggery. Not for double gold. Not one more step."

"See here," Mr. Grummage cried with indignation. "You undertook..."

"Never mind what I undertook," the man retorted. "It's worth more to me to avoid that man than to close with your coin." And without other word he marched off.

"Stop! I say, stop!" Mr. Grummage called. It was in vain. The porter had gone, and quickly at that.

Mr. Grummage and I looked at each other. I hardly knew what to make of it. Nor, clearly, did he. Yet he did what he had to do: he surveyed the area in search of a replacement.

"There! You man!" he cried to the first who passed by, a huge laboring fellow in a smock. "Here's a shilling if you can carry this young lady's trunk!"

The man paused, looked at Mr. Grummage, at me, at the trunk. "That?" he asked disdainfully.

"I'll be happy to add a second shilling," I volunteered, thinking that a low offer was the problem.

"Miss Doyle," Mr. Grummage snapped. "Let me handle this."

"Two shillings," the workman said quickly.

"One," Mr. Grummage countered.

"Two," the workman repeated and held his hand out to Mr. Grummage, who gave him but one coin. Then the man turned and extended his hand to me.

Hastily I began to extract a coin from my reticule.

"Miss Doyle!" Mr. Grummage objected.

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 285 reviews.
country_1802 More than 1 year ago
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a well written book which was written by Avi Wortis. It is a grate book for ages ten and up, I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. With this story you can see that under all that rich and glory she is just a girl that wants to be treated as everyone else is. In the book Charlotte was told her whole life what she had to wear and where she had to be. She was shipped off to boarding school in England, but on her way back home she was forced to ride alone on the long voyage back. With her adventure back home her mind has changed on who she wants to be. Avi Wortis was born into a family who loves to write. Avi had a learning disability (diagnosed later) which made reading and writing very challenging, his parents sent him to a private school to help with his learning. Now Avi has children witch turned his attention to children books. The book is very well put together and clean. The main character is Charlotte Doyle there are elven other characters who are important in the book. In 1832 Charlotte is on her voyage home on the Seahawk (ship) from England to America. She has been though a lot on the way back. Her idea on life has changed since being born into a rich family she has been told what to do, but on the ship she was treated equal and she loved how she was free. This was a wonderful story anyone could read it. I would recommend this to anyone, everyone could take something from this book. It is truly an awesome book. I love how Charlotte has been though a lot but fights though it and makes it something else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it had a lot of suspense. I read this book when I was in sixth grade because I didn't have any other choice, but if I knew it was this good, I would of chose to read it on my own. This book had amazing twists and turns on every chapter and I loved it. It kept you on the edge of your seat (or just possibly on the floor!) with your mouth hanging dead open! This book was incredible! You really should buy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my Reading Olympics, and I loved it! I was really sad when Charlotte went home to her parents, it was just so different from the ship. But the end made me very pleased! Read this book, you won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favortie teachers read this story to my class back when I was in 5th grade and I loved the story. I recently read the story to my daughter and she loves it just as much as I did.
jrakeandlola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book is a great story of murder mixed with trial and a sprinkle on friendship.
anniecase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book may have been the first I devoured as a child. The protagonist is smart, the story is intriguing and, especially for young girls, it is a story of empowerment.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like many of the other readers, I found Charlotte's quick transformation from elitist snob to egalitarian girl of the people to be a bit hard to swallow. However, that didn't stop this story from being a thumping good read. It was suspensful, the villian was deliciously evil (I think in a movie, he'd be played by either Alan Rickman or Hugo Weaving), and there is a lot of info about sailing but the teaching aspect doesn't interfere with the story too much. The targeted age group, both boys and girls, will love this book.
KBroun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is as entertaining (though unrealistic) as historical fiction gets. In this story of adventure the 13-year-old female protagonist is forced to choose between right and wrong and then live with her decision. In choosing to side with the crew, Charlotte knows she will be giving up the protected status of a young wealthy woman and become no better than the lowest of the crew. Despite her inexperience, Charlotte is able to learn quickly and adapt to her situation to become a respected addition to the crew. This is a great book for the MS reader and should be of high interest thanks to the recent Pirate trilogy of movies.
lefty33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charlotte, the pampered daughter of Mr. Doyle, must cross the sea aboard a non-passenger ship. She is amongst the rough crew with no comforts. And soon finds herself accused of murder.
Omrythea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A surprisingly level young girl tells the story of her journey aboard a ship. A fast-paced exciting read.
srssrs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avi is a master author, because he can write so many books in different genres. This story has a strong female main character, but has a large supporting cast of pirate/seaman ruffians all children will enjoy. This novel is about a girl traveling alone on a merchant ship back to the Americas alone. Shortly into the voyage, a mutiny breaks out on board that changes Charlotte's life forever. The only part of this book that sometimes gets tedious is the amount of 'ship' jargon most YA are not familiar with. There are diagrams in the back that are fairly explicit, but a lot of children don't stop reading to turn back 100 pages to look up a word. However, the techincal jargon does add a certain authenticity to the tale. An engaging story for any child! Avi once again, proves to be a master!
elizabethholloway on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At 13, Charlotte Doyle has never been out of sight of a guardian or teacher, never done any manual labor and always sought to be the essence of decorum and 19th century femininity. All this changes when she boards the Seahawk. She is supposed to travel with two other families. They never arrive. Instead she is the lone female among a crew that is planning mutiny. She immediately aligns herself with the captain--the only other middle class person on the ship. She soon discovers what the crew has known: he is tyrant. Through a series of dramatic events, Charlotte decides that she is obligated to serve as a member of the crew. The men are dead set against it. But her determination wins them over. As a member of the crew she begins to rethink all of her notions about femininity and what she is capable of. The captain, fearing her report of him when they return, frames her for murder. How she survives her trial and conviction is the hook that drives the book.As a historical novel, this story succeeds at creating a vivid portrait of the values of 1830's American/British society, woman's roles and life on on the ship. As Charlotte Doyle takes on her sailor role, the outrage of the men on board is believable. During her trial, in fact, the captain makes a point of discussing her unnatural dress. Avi goes to great length to make the eventual acceptance of Charlotte as a sailor believable through the desperateness of the situation and character development. The shock and consternation of her family demonstrate the outrageousness of Charlotte's situation. They remind the reader of the extreme confines women in this period had to endure. The depiction of Zachary, the black sailor, is well done. The racism he faces is constant but often subtle. His reaction is nuanced and his character, fully developed. The ending of the book is the ending of an adventure story more than a piece of history, but it is satisfying and true to the story.
CrestBaptistChurch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book tells a tale of a young girl's journey on a ship from England to America to be with her family. She forms friendships w/ the sailors and takes a much different view on the importance of stature by the end of the book.
mysteriesrme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The plot and characterizations kept me glued to the book. Avi did an outstanding job of depicting a renegade crew and their motivations. I like the personal transformation of Charlotte. At first, I really did not like her much, but over time she grows and becomes a more sympathetic character. The ending was a surprise but once you see Charlotte's transformation, the ending fits.
kaionvin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 variety, Avi doesn't seem pinned down to any particular themes or plots, nor any particular stylistic florishes. If I were being less generous, then I might describe him as a workman writer, but even in a somewhat perfunctory piece like Charlotte Doyle, there are touches that keep it from being entirely dull. One such aspect is that Avi seems really genuinely interested in sailing, and the novel is chock full of ship terms and absorbing detail. He also lends the titular character plenty of class-consciousness realistic to her time and station (that of the daughter of a sucessful middle-class merchant). Another is that the premise of the book is genuinely interesting: a passenger gets inadventantly getting involved in a mutinous war between captain and crew.Unfortunately, the change that comes over Charlotte as necessitated by the plot (for her to become an accomplished and adventure-seeking crew-woman of her own), is not particularly believable. And as a whole, the novel really suffers from simplistic characterization, uneven plotting, and a thoroughly unnecessary framing device.But I'll keep reading Avi for those flashes that make me think he's capable of a really self-assured, complete novel. Or at least to keep taking stabs at identifying his writer signature. Rating: 2.5 stars
ElenaEstrada on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a wonderfully crafted story of a young woman who finds herself in a man¿s world without the protection of her family. She quickly must learn to adapt to a new environment; she must learn to think and act for herself since her survival depends on her ability to adjust. I quickly was able to relate to the main character¿s internal and external conflicts, since the author did a great job of characterizing. The author, AVI, provides the social mores that a ¿proper¿ young lady from a well to do family must live up to. Charlotte, the main character, is a flawed character who believes she is superior to those around her since she is from a higher social class than most of the characters. As she travels by herself, she must learn to overcome her own social limitations as well as understand the people around her. Because the author is talented, it was easy to read a novel set in 1832 even though the historical context was very different to modern times. The reader is able to appreciate the values and attitudes of the particular time period as well as believe the development of the plot. The story is credible, and historically accurate. I was not surprised to see that it was a Newberry Honor Book. Ages 4th grade and Up
lorinhigashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avi portrays a strong female character that young readers, boy or girl can relate to despite the fact that Charlotte is living in the 1830s. She depicts the struggle between the gender roles through the timeline of the 1800s to today's generation. The fact that Avi wrote the novel with the story being told by Charlotte is a subtle example of females having a voice thus breaking through how women were supposed to act during this time.Avi. (1990). The true confessions of charlotte doyle. New York: Avon Books. Rowling, J.K. (1998). Harry potter and sorcerer's stone. New York: Scholastic.
mmuncy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle takes place in 1832. Charlotte, a thirteen year old American girl, has been living in England with her family for the past seven years. Her father, who is a business man gets called home to America. Because they do not want to disrupt her schooling, her family leaves without Charlotte, who will follow them by sea a few months later. When she starts to board her ship, she and her chaperone find out that the other families who were supposed to escort her are not going to be coming. Her chaperone says she must go anyway. Immediately some of the sailors begin to warn her that this is not a good place for her. She finds out that they think the captain is a bad man and they are probably going to seek revenge for past wrongs. Charlotte can hardly believe this because the captain is a gentleman. Charlotte finds out that the sailors have made a round robin pact against the captain and tells him. This is when chaos breaks loose aboard the ship. The captain shoots one man, and Charlotte thinks he beats another- her friend Zachariah- to death. Believing that she is responsible for the deaths, Charlotte begs the crew to let her be a member. The relent, and she learns how to do the work. The captain decides that to make better time they will sail through a hurricane, during which the first mate is stabbed in the back. The captain accuses Charlotte and find her guilty. While trying to kill her, he falls overboard and drowns. When Charlotte eventually reaches her home, her parents don¿t believe her account of what happened. She then decides to run away to join the crew again.I really like this book. I read it in elementary and I¿ve always remembered it. Re-reading it was a lot of fun.I would have the students research mutinies and see what kind of information they could come up with.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
13-year-old Charlotte Doyle's exciting 1832 journey from England to her home in America is captured in the diary she keeps along the way. At the start of the trip, she is an innocent, uptight schoolgirl. She is the only female aboard the ship. When the crew rebels, Charlotte first sides with handsome, civilized Captain Jaggerty, but she soon realizes that he is not an honorable man. She joins the crew as a seaman and works and suffers alongside them until she earns their respect. A murder occurs during the trip and Charlotte is tried and convicted. But that's not quite the end for Charlotte...Charlotte is a strong character who grows up during her journey and finds out what home really means. Marvelous.
cherryblossommj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 strongly suggest you get her this book. It opened millions of doors for me, and I just really hope it would for her as well.This book is about a heroine of outstanding strength and moral character. She teaches and shows that you are capable if you try.
miksmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The thrilling account of Charlotte's seafaring adventure is told in great detail. As she was instructed by her father to keep a travel journal, Charlotte's transformation from proper schoolgirl to full-fledged sailor is powerfully described in her own words. The sailing terminology did not detract from the story (I feared the fine details might cause me to lose interest!), but rather enlivened it. Both girls and boys will appreciate Charlotte's plucky character, and the surprise ending will make them cheer!
jeffersonsambrosia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For fun and giggles I decided to read this book again. I read it a long time ago when it was more age appropriate for me. This is a nice period piece that covers a young woman¿s journey through things. If you liked Pirates of the Caribbean you are very likely to enjoy True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. It is age appropriate, but it is also enjoyable and amusing for the older crowd if they wish to watch that.
Bibliophile42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Charlotte Doyle is a strong and courageous woman up to whom many readers will look. This is Avi's best work in my opinion.
jamaicanmecrazy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent YA historical novel. Easy to read---quite suspenseful and all the details pertaining to the structure of the ship do not in any way distract from the story line. Would recommend to young females to read about a protagonist who breaks out of the stereotype. Rumored to be a movie to be realeased in 2011.
CassieM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. Every page you read makes you want to keep going. The writing is so descriptive it makes you feel like you are right there with Charlotte as she goes through an unbelievably amazing adventure full of fear and bravery. I recommend this book to young adult readers as well as adults. It is very entertaining.