The Second Life of Abigail Walkerbook Review

Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers

Audience: 8-12

How I Got It: Library

About This Book: second life of abigail walker

Abigail Walker just doesn’t fit in.

She says the wrong things. Her mom doesn’t pack her the right lunches. And she’s never going to weigh eighty-eight pounds, like the medium girls do. From their hair to their grades to their sizes, the other girls are medium, no matter how you slice it. Abby wants to be too. So no one is more surprised than she is when she takes a stand against a very mean, very medium remark.

But whether she meant to do it or not, she has crossed a line she won’t be able to cross back over. And while trying to avoid the now mean medium girls, Abby, coaxed along by a mysterious dog and an even more mysterious fox, crosses over something else, a stream that she never knew existed. On the other side she discovers a family: Anders and his dad, Matt, who’s returned from the war in Iraq a shell of his former self. Anders wants her help to put his dad back together again — which might just be exactly what Abby needs too.

My Review: 

I have read two other books by Frances O’Roark Dowell and I thought they were great (The Secret Language of  Girls and The Kind of Friends We Used To Be).  When I picked up this book at the library a week ago, I had high expectations. Overall, this book was…decent. I’m glad to have read it would probably wouldn’t read it again.

The Second Life of Abigail Walker has many good qualities. I really liked the main character Abigail and I enjoyed many aspects of this story: Abigail’s battle with bullies,  trying to fit in, etc… The author’s writing style was excellent also.

But something about this book bothered me and it wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized what it was. Abigail doesn’t have a goal. I am certain that everyone remembers the stereotype about a loner, a kid who hides out in their room and  never really takes an active role in their life. They are never interesting to read about because kids want to read about other kids doing something. Abigail has always been the victim and she must tiptoe around the “medium popular” girls who’ve taken her in. I feel the transformation of Abby turning into a confident version of herself takes the entire book. By the time she becomes a more motivated character, the story is over.

I also didn’t understand why there is a magical fox in this book. In the prologue, it is said that foxes have played a role in many stories over the centuries. Now, a fox is about to set Abby’s story into motion. Even after thinking about this for a while, I still didn’t understand this aspect. I think the book would have been better without it.

There were many different threads in this story such as the mean “medium” girls, her very slight weight problem and helping Anders’s father recover from his horrible memories of war. The story tended to go off track frequently and I didn’t really feel that it tied together well in the end.

Overall? I’m glad to have read it but I don’t think that I will pick it up again. It had the potential to be a fantastic book, but I felt that it was missing a major piece.

I think you would enjoy her books if you enjoy Wendy Mass’s books.

About The Author:

FRANCES O’ROARK DOWELL is the author of Dovey Coe, winner of a 2001 Edgar Award and the William Allen White Award; Shooting the Moon, Christopher Award  and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor frances oroark dowellAward winner;  Where I’d Like To Be, an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice; The Secret Language of Girls; Chicken Boy, an ALA Notable and NCTE Notable Book; Phineas L. MacGuire… Erupts!: The First Experiment, and most recently Falling In and Ten Miles Past Normal. She lives in Durham.

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