Amber Brown is happy her dad has moved back to New Jersey, but her mom isn't. It means the beginning of shared custody, and that means more fighting. Amber feels as if half of her belongs to her mom and half of her belongs to her dad, and that doesn't feel good at all. Then her mom says she can't get her ears pierced, but her dad doesn't know that. Amber makes a decision. Something has to belong to her, so why shouldn't it be her ears?
Amber Brown is in deep trouble. Lately, no matter what she does, it isn't enough. She straightens up her room - sort of. She does her homework - well, most of it. And she agrees to meet Max, her mother's new boyfriend - but she doesn't agree to like him. Now her mother is angry, her teacher wants all of her homework, and Max keeps trying to make her laugh.
The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in. Thirteen-year-old Sophie is the only girl amongst the crew of The Wanderer, made up of her three uncles and two cousins. They sail across the Atlantic toward England, the land of Bompie, her grandfather. The personal journey she takes brings her deeper into a forgotten past than she ever knew possible. Sophie’s 13-year-old cousin Cody isn’t sure why his father brought him along. Everyone, including his dad, thinks he’s nothing but a knucklehead doofus.