The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark DowellThe Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell

The Second Life of Abigail Walker

byFrances O'Roark Dowell

Paperback | August 27, 2013

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Is it possible to start afresh when you’re thoroughly weighted down? A “timeless and entirely of-the-moment” (Publishers Weekly) novel from the author of The Secret Language of Girls.

Seventeen pounds. That’s the difference between Abigail Walker and Kristen Gorzca. Between chubby and slim, between teased and taunting. Abby is fine with her body and sick of seventeen pounds making her miserable, so she speaks out against Kristen and her groupies—and becomes officially unpopular. Embracing her new status, Abby heads to an abandoned lot across the street and crosses an unfamiliar stream that leads her to a boy who’s as different as they come.

Anders is homeschooled, and while he’s worried that Abby’s former friends are out to get her, he’s even more worried about his dad, a war veteran home from Iraq who is dangerously disillusioned with life. But if his dad can finish his poem about the expedition of Lewis and Clark, if he can recapture the belief that there can be innocence in the world, maybe he will be okay. As Abby dives into the unexpected role as research assistant, she just as unexpectedly discovers that by helping someone else find hope in the world, there is plenty there for herself, as well.
Frances O'Roark Dowell was born on a military post in Berlin, Germany on May 30, 1964. She received a B.A. from Wake Forest University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Massachusetts. She has written numerous books including Where I'd Like to Be, The Secret Language of Girls, The Kind of Friends We Used ...
Title:The Second Life of Abigail WalkerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.62 × 5.12 × 0.7 inPublished:August 27, 2013Publisher:415231986Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442405945

ISBN - 13:9781442405943


Read from the Book

the fox had been stepping into stories since the beginning of time. Important stories, everyday stories, stories that only mattered to one or two people. She sniffed stories out. When she smelled one that interested her, she closed her eyes and leaped into the air, moving through the invisible space between one story and the next. Sometimes she took chances and landed in unfortunate places. Like the story of the soldiers in the middle of desert, the sand seeded with explosives. A fox could get killed in a story like that. Not that the fox ever got killed. She hadn’t even managed to die of old age, although how old must she be? Ancient of days, her friend Crow liked to say when you asked him his age. The fox supposed that’s how old she was too. Now she stood at the edge of a field, in the invisible space between one story and another, and gazed across the green-goldness of it. What had drawn her here? This field, like all fields, had come from somewhere else. The birds had flown across its blank slate and dropped seeds into the waiting soil. The raccoons gathered burrs in their fur and deposited them as they tracked through the mud, and in the spring the earth took a deep breath, pulled forth roots, and sent out flowers and grasses. There’d been something else here once, not too long ago. The fox could smell it. Something that had gone wrong. Her nose quivered. The scent was mixed: the something-gone-wrong smell, yes, but also mice and rabbits and the small berries that came at the beginning of fall, tiny, sour fruit she might eat just before the first frost. These were smells she remembered from the oldest stories, the laughing stories, stories where her kits gathered around her and chattered and barked. Suddenly the heavy, dark smell of exhaust from the road filled the fox’s snout. A bus? A truck? Soldiers back from Al Anbar? Quick, quick, burrow into the center of a clump of weeds. Something was coming. Someone. What would she witness this time? Maybe it was someone who could help, she told herself, trying to stay calm. Maybe they’ve sent someone to help. The fox trembled, and she waited.

Editorial Reviews

* "Abigail Walker is a large girl living in a medium-sized world. She tries to fit in at school with a group of girls whose purpose is defined by how bad they make her feel. On top of that, her father nags her about her weight, and her mother fails to recognize how her insistence on constant harmony is inherently unfair. What Abby wants is “rough edges” and permission “to feel whatever it was she was feeling.” When she encounters a fox in an overgrown lot across the street from her house, it has a talismanic effect, and Abby starts to see how social expectations do not define her own happiness. Dowell masterfully handles the hot button topic of bullying and will have readers contemplating the pettiness and self-loathing that supports it. Beating at the triumphant heart of the book is Abigail’s realization that life is fullest when experienced genuinely. This is a story of Abigail’s crossings: crossing a computer lab to make a friend; crossing a street to find peaceful isolation; crossing a creek to escape a tormentor; and crossing all the lines drawn to prevent her from feeling alive inside. A timely and heartening book for today’s middle schoolers."