Fly Back, Agnes
Fly Back, Agnes
Publisher's Hardcover13.49
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Annotation: A heartfelt story that sensitively tackles the everyday inner turmoil of growing up and staying true to oneself. Twelve-... more
Catalog Number: #201930
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 290 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-541-57820-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-541-57820-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019006852
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
When 12-year-old Agnes Moon's mother, Mo, announces that they'll be spending the summer in Kansas with Mo's boyfriend and his weird kid, Agnes quietly snaps. Furious, Agnes spins a little lie that gets her out of the whole ordeal. Now she's housesitting a beautiful home (and adorable dog!) with her dad all summer. Since he's busy working on his PhD during the day, Agnes has ample time to explore, which is how she ends up in the neighboring town of Renew. There, she makes new friends and reinvents herself as Chloe, a girl with the life and family of her dreams, a liberating feeling until the lies turn on her. Atkinson stuffs a few too many issues into this book, with divorce and blended families, puberty and Agnes getting her period, an intersex friend and best-friend drama all squeezed into one summer. However, readers may well identify with one or more of Agnes' experiences. Place this with books like Karen Rivers' A Possibility of Whales (2018) and Kim Harrington's Revenge of the Red Club (2019).
Publishers Weekly
In a story about deep change, 12-year-old Agnes Moon, who inherited her part-Korean father-s skin tone and her red-headed mother-s freckles, has lately felt out of control. She-s dealing with microaggressions and her best friend-s betrayal at school, her parents- divorce and older sister-s estrangement at home, and her developing preteen body. When her mother announces that they are moving from Vermont to Kansas for the summer, despite Agnes-s having already made plans, she tells a lie to spend the break with her father in the Vermont house that he-s watching for a friend. But her dad-s responsibilities leave him often busy, giving her ample time alone. Free to pass herself off as anyone she chooses, Agnes invents a new persona: Chloe, an actor and dancer from Topeka. As she makes friends and absorbs their confidences, as with intersex Fin, who is frequently gossiped about, her initially freeing lies leave Agnes feeling more alone than ever. Atkinson (The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball) focuses on Agnes-s turbulent inner life, but the other characters are more thinly drawn, limiting the novel-s emotional depth. Ages 9-10. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Fifth grade graduate Agnes struggles with her changing body, her fractured family, even an old-fashioned name she doesn't feel fits her. When her steamroller of a mother announces a harebrained summer trip with her new boyfriend, Agnes crafts a lie so she can stay with her college professor father in another town. One lie quickly leads to others. In her new reality she is Chloe, a 14-year-old actress with a perfect family. With her father working on his PhD, Agnes has the freedom to roam the charming rural town. She meets a cadre of friendly people, including Stella and the enigmatic Fin, also visiting and with a mysterious background. Agnes becomes a friend and confidant to the teenagers, each of whom have family issues not dissimilar to her own. Everyone in town seems to have a secret and they all reveal themselves to Agnes, not realizing she is keeping so many of her own. Atkinson captures Agnes's innocence and reluctance to embrace change while desiring to be a different person in a different situation. Though her mother's character is drawn larger than life, interesting and unique supporting characters help bring the town down to earth. VERDICT Issues of peer acceptance, popularity, and the repercussions of divorce are delicately explored in this sweet and tender tale. Will resonate with middle grade and early high school students, especially those at a crossroads in their lives. Lee De Groft, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, VA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/20)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (2/1/20)
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 5-9
Lexile: 720L
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

A heartfelt story that sensitively tackles the everyday inner turmoil of growing up and staying true to oneself. Twelve-year-old Agnes hates everything about her life: her name, her parents' divorce, her best friend's abandonment, her changing body . . . . So while staying with her dad over the summer, she decides to become someone else. She tells people she meets that her name is Chloe, she's fourteen, her parents are married, and she's a dancer and actor--just the life she wants. But Agnes's fibs quickly stack up and start to complicate her new friendships, especially with Fin, whose mysterious relative runs a local raptor rehab center that fascinates Agnes. The birds, given time and care, heal and fly back home. Agnes, too, wants to get back to wherever she truly belongs. But first she must come to see the good in her real life, however flawed and messy it is, and be honest with her friends, her family, and herself.

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