Agnes at the End of the World
Agnes at the End of the World

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Annotation: The Handmaid's Tale meets Wilder Girls in this genre-defying novel about a girl who escapes a terrifying cult only to di... more
Catalog Number: #219703
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 432
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-48733-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8401-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-48733-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8401-6
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
As a plague ravages the planet, the community of Red Creek believes they are chosen survivors. But Agnes is having serious doubts about the Prophet's visions, especially because his distrust of the Outside means that Agnes has to break the rules in order to get insulin to keep her younger brother alive. But when the Prophet says it's finally time to move into the bunker for the impending apocalypse, Agnes knows she has to get out. McWilliams (Doormat, 2004) explores societal collapse and religious doubt through an initially fragile protagonist who overcomes her fears of the Outsiders when it becomes painfully evident that her life up to that point was never fully her own. Agnes is eventually able to emerge as a young woman with agency, even as the world around her continues to spiral into chaos. In this character-driven novel, full of the mundane and the extraordinary, McWilliams delves deeply into the varied and complex relationships between spirituality and idolatry, feminism and patriarchy, love, family, and hope l set against a nightmarish dystopian backdrop.
Publishers Weekly
The Red Creek compound is the only life Agnes, 16, has known. Adhering to the belief that -perfect obedience produces perfect faith,- she and her siblings have been taught by Red Creek-s prophet that women are inferior to men and that outsiders are not
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The story of a 16-year-old’s journey to freedom at the end of the world.Raised in the ranch commune of Red Creek, Agnes has always followed the Prophet’s adage, “perfect obedience produces perfect faith.” With a mother in the depths of depression, Agnes dutifully takes care of her father and younger siblings and the household chores; she is the perfect follower. Her one sin is the lifesaving insulin she receives from Matilda, an Outsider nurse, for her brother Ezekiel, who has Type 1 diabetes. Agnes’ 15-year-old sister Beth is her complete opposite—questioning the cult’s strict laws for women and sneaking around with a boy. Events ramp up as Agnes becomes aware of the Prophet’s lies and a viral pandemic ravages the outside world. As the Prophet forces his followers into an underground bunker, Agnes realizes she must leave with Ezekiel. With the help of Matilda’s son, Danny, who exposes them to life outside, and prayers in which Agnes communes with God, they escape into a dying world. The novel unfolds in chapters alternating between Agnes’ and Beth’s perspectives, blending science fiction with the harsh realities of life in a cult. The ornate, complex text takes readers through Agnes’ and Beth’s journeys of reconciling their faith and desires, imbuing the well-rounded characters with purpose. Residents of Red Creek are white; Danny and Matilda are black.An excellent read. (map, author’s note) (Dystopian. 13-18)
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Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12

The Handmaid's Tale meets Wilder Girls in this genre-defying novel about a girl who escapes a terrifying cult only to discover that the world Outside has succumbed to a viral apocalypse.


Agnes loves her home of Red Creek -- its quiet, sunny mornings, its dusty roads, and its God. There, she cares tirelessly for her younger siblings and follows the town's strict laws. What she doesn't know is that Red Creek is a cult, controlled by a madman who calls himself a prophet.

Then Agnes meets Danny, an Outsider boy, and begins to question what is and isn't a sin. Her younger brother, Ezekiel, will die without the insulin she barters for once a month, even though medicine is considered outlawed. Is she a sinner for saving him? Is her sister, Beth, a sinner for dreaming of the world beyond Red Creek?

As the Prophet grows more dangerous, Agnes realizes she must escape with Ezekiel and leave everyone else, including Beth, behind. But it isn't safe Outside, either: A viral pandemic is burning through the population at a terrifying rate. As Agnes ventures forth, a mysterious connection grows between her and the Virus. But in a world where faith, miracles, and cruelty have long been indistinguishable, will Agnes be able to choose between saving her family and saving the world?


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