Kathleen O'Dell

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Agnes Parker... Girl in Progress

Can you become a new version of you?

Agnes Parker is trying to become. . . well, not someone else exactly, but just a better version of the girl she's always been.  One who's not such an easy target for bully-girls like Peggy Neidermeyer, and who can be as confident and clever as her best friend Prejean.  Getting glasses doesn't exactly help Agnes's mission, but a view of the amazing new boy in class just might.

Is he actually looking back at her?  Will she actually be able to talk to him?  Or will she be, as always, the same old Agnes?  Maybe . . . not!

Surprises, fun, and a new friend all await within the pages of this wise and funny chronicle of one go-for-it girl's life in progress.


Agnes Parker... Happy Camper?

Agnes Parker is back! 

The first thing Agnes and her best friend Prejean

learn at science camp is that they won't be sharing the same cabin. Being apart gives Agnes a different perspective, and a few worries, about what others think of her longtime friend. Everyone seems to be going on and on about how beautiful Prejean is. A beauty queen?  What if Prejean starts acting like one?

Soil studies, camp pranks, and a weird bunkmate all play a role in this funny, insightful story of the everyday casualties and payoffs of growing up.


Agnes Parker... Keeping Cool in Middle School

Agnes is in seventh grade. Initially, she decides that the best defense against the rude eighth-grade boys and their rating system and the judgmental girls and their snobbishness is to fly under the radar. This seems to be working well until her best friend, Prejean, decides to run for class president, making Agnes her campaign manager and the center of what becomes a political and social firestorm. Add in marital problems between Prejean's parents, as well as Aram, a boy in her art class who seems to have more than just friendship on his mind, and suddenly Agnes's life gets a lot more complicated.

O'Dell's writing perfectly captures the painful and sometimes funny middle-school years. Agnes will once again charm readers with her sweet and generous nature, even as she navigates the new and scary world of seventh grade. Thoughtful and captivating.

Kirkus Starred Review


Praise for Anges Parker...Girl In Progress

"In this accomplished first novel, O'Dell probes the sixth-grade mindset pithily and perceptively."

-Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"...[I]t's what you might call a cusp-of-coming-of-age novel--and a thoughtful, gently humorous, resonant one at that."

-The Horn Book Magazine

"This satisfying and good-humored story will leave readers hoping for Agnes Parker's return."

-School Library Journal

"O'Dell creates some of the liveliest characters in recent young adult fiction. Agnes is a great everygirl, with a touch of resourcefulness and heart thrown in, and her sidekick Prejean is sassy and outgoing. Neidermeyer is one of the best girl bullies to appear in years. The events in the story are told with the right mix of zaniness and sincerity, and they avoid sentimentality and overstatement. O'Dell is clearly in tune with young teenage girls and understands their embarrassments and their triumphs. She credits Beverly Cleary as an inspiration, and it is evident that Agnes is the literary offspring of Ramona. Readers can only hope to continue to watch her progress."

-VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)


Praise  for Agnes Parker... Happy Camper

“A cast of interesting campers, including a precocious eight-year-old, an outgoing tomboy and a tough yet sensitive girl with a secret, keep Agnes company as she struggles with the changes in her best friend. Camp culture forces the friends to confront racial prejudice, loyalty and a blooming interest in boys. Realistic dialogue and smart characters offer a richness and depth without sacrificing some serious fun. The campfire is bright and warm when shared with Agnes and her friends.” (Fiction. 8-12) --



Agnes Honors

Publisher's Weekly Flying Start

International Reading Association/CBC Children's Choice

Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

Children's Literature Choice List 2004

Banks Street College Best Books List

2014 Kathleen O'Dell