The Second Life of Abigail Walker

31 Jan

abigail_walker_248Bullying has become a huge issues in schools across America and it has clearly bled into children’s literature as well.  The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O’Roark Dowell is a book about rising above the bullies and believing in yourself, even when you’re not quite sure what that means.  Abigail Walker stand up to the “medium” girls at schools and in the process begins to learn a lot about herself, other kids in her school and even some of her neighbors.  What is really interesting is this story has a fantastical element in a fox that brings about a first-fox perspective in chapters throughout the book connecting the entire story together.

When Abigail meets Anders, a young boy in the neighborhood who is homeschooled by his grandmother, she learns about current events, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and becomes good friends with girls and boys in her class.  Anders’s father, Matt, served in Iraq twice and after coming home has been dealing with post traumatic stress disorder – he’s obsessed with the Lewis and Clark expedition and all the animals that they cataloged out West.  Abigail and her friends begin helping Matt by doing research on the animals.  Abigail learns more about herself too as the time passes.

There were a few loose ends that I wish the author would have addressed before the end of the novel – specifically involving Abigail and her father, but overall I really enjoyed this story – with a powerful female character who stands up for herself – perfect for girls in middle school!  Check out Frances O’Roark Dowell’s website for some great information about the author and her other novels!

Title: The Second Life of Abigail Walker
Author: Frances O’Roark Dowell
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2012
Page Number: 240 pgs.


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