I was on the Street Team for this book and received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own and unbiased.
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Wilder Girls 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?
I would like to start off this review by saying I am not religious and tend to not read books with religious undertones. With that being said, I enjoyed this book. Agnes’s story was unique and I was captivated from the first chapter. I love how she came to terms with her own religious freedom and also her duty to end the virus. Truly awesome! I read this book back in February before the current situation with the world was in full-swing. This is a very apt book considering the current health crisis facing us today, especially the mysterious virus elements. Agnes’s relationship with religion reminded me a lot of the religious beliefs of characters in The Color Purple, because Agnes defined what religion meant to her towards the end of the novel. Overall, I thought the pacing for this book was very good and well done.
About the Author:
Kelly is the author of the upcoming young adult novel, AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD (June, 2020, Little, Brown Young Readers), which benefited from a We Need Diverse Books Mentorship. She lives in Colorado with her partner and young daughter.