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Agnes at the End of the World
Cover of Agnes at the End of the World
Agnes at the End of the World
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The Village meets Octavia Butler's After the Fire in this unique, voice-driven novel from Kelly McWilliamsAgnes loves her home of Red Creek—its quiet, sunny mornings, its dusty roads, and its...
The Village meets Octavia Butler's After the Fire in this unique, voice-driven novel from Kelly McWilliamsAgnes loves her home of Red Creek—its quiet, sunny mornings, its dusty roads, and its...
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  • The Village meets Octavia Butler's After the Fire in this unique, voice-driven novel from Kelly McWilliams

    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?

About the Author-

  • Kelly McWilliams is a biracial writer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lives with her partner, and is the bewildered parent of a toddler. She's currently a staff writer at Romper, the millennial parenting site, where she reports on women's health. As a 15-year old, she published DOORMAT (Random House, 2004), a Junior Library Guild selection, and headed to Walnut Hill School for the Arts to finish high school among raucous theater majors. As an undergraduate at Brown University, she studied feminist literary criticism and began writing nonfiction. She loves books for kids and teens that fearlessly tackle big ideas, like what it means to be a woman or a girl. When she's not working, she's trying to recreate the breakfast Beyoncé just posted on Instagram. Her recent manuscript, AGNES AND THE END OF THE WORLD, benefitted from a marvelous We Need Diverse Books Mentorship.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 18, 2020
    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
    to be trusted. Devout though she is, Agnes secretly seeks outside help to save her brother, who has type 1 diabetes, and she experiences doubt when faced with an arranged marriage and her outsider mother’s pleas that she run away. When a viral pandemic encroaches, Agnes uncovers an aural realm long forgotten. In three parts, McWilliams (Doormat) follows faithful Agnes and her doubting 15-year-old sister, Beth. As Agnes learns more about the virus—a disease infecting animals and humans that causes hardened red skin, hostility, and grouping together in grotesque nests—she must come to grips with the tension between science and faith. Strong apocalyptic worldbuilding alternates with dialogue-laden scenes, while minor characters, such as the Burn Squad captain charged with eradicating nests, move the plot forward in absorbing and dynamic ways. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret.

  • AudioFile Magazine Brittany Pressley holds listeners' attention as she narrates the spiritual, apocalyptic, and strangely pertinent story of Agnes, who breaks free of the oppressive cult she grew up in only to find a world in crisis over a pandemic. Viewpoints alternate between Agnes and her younger sister, Beth. Pressley does an excellent job balancing Agnes's humble and curious yet passionate voice with Beth's more dissatisfied, insecure one. Pressley also is excellent at pacing; although the plot unfolds somewhat slowly, she sustains listeners' attention with the palpable confusion and emotion that all the characters experience in a time of great change. This unique story eerily echoes aspects of our COVID-19 moment, and Pressley's narration adds to its captivating atmosphere. E.J.S. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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