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Agnes at the End of the World

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,975 ratings  ·  686 reviews
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 prop
Hardcover, 417 pages
Published June 9th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Kelly McWilliams The novel came out of a pregnancy dream! I had this recurring dream about a teenaged girl wandering into the desert, trying to care for a young child.…moreThe novel came out of a pregnancy dream! I had this recurring dream about a teenaged girl wandering into the desert, trying to care for a young child. She was obviously running from something, though I didn't yet know what. By the time I started writing, I knew she was fleeing from a cult in hopes of making a better life. I also knew that her journey would be especially difficult, because the world she was running to had grave problems of its own!

Thanks for asking!(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Claude's Bookzone
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is mostly about faith and religion. I did find the premise interesting but I was hoping for more of an apocalypse type book and this was not. It's an exploration of Agnes' faith in the face of the lies that have been fed to her and their community from their flawed and sinister religious leader, Prophet. Red Creek is considered a cult by the outside world. With the Rapture approaching Agnes needs to face the truth and try to save her family. I did find it interesting but the faith base ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I feel like it was Rinse/Repeat and a lot of ya is getting on my nerves

All the stars for the diabetes rep

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-blurbed
Official comments: Unforgettable and full of hope, Agnes at the End of the World is at times beautiful, at others dark. The love that transcends these pages is a triumph.

Unofficial comments: This book has really solid Type I diabetes rep, so please read it, share it, boost it, etc.! It deserves all the love!
Toya (the reading chemist)
I’m honestly at a loss for how to even put my thoughts in to words right now because WHAT IN THE HELL DID I JUST READ?!

When you compare a book to Wilder Girls then lure a deadly pandemic in my face, I’m expecting lots of gore as well as diversity. I mean, that’s literally what Wilder Girlswas.

Oh but wait, instead, what I got was a Christian dystopian novel where all the characters are cis, white, and able bodied. And the kicker? The main character is a prophet of God and this whole story is th
Jun 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quarantine-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020, weird
What an interesting read.

This is a book that puts a lot of focus on faith and religion, but don’t let that stop you if you’re not about that. I myself am not religious, but it was fascinating to see the characters grapple with and hold onto their faith despite the lies they’ve been told.

The characters were interesting to read about because of what I said above. They’ve lived their whole lives believing one thing but when faced with truth, their whole lives are thrown into question. The sibling
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs, ya, 2020
[ARC] This isn't a cult story or a dystopian story. It's a religious story and if you don't care about religion/faith, give this one a hard pass. ...more
Taylor Fenner
Agnes at the End of the World introduces readers to two very different sisters living in a cult community.

Agnes is very devout and has always found peace in her community - except when she has to deal with outsiders to get the medicine her younger brother needs to survive.

Beth, is more of the wild child rule breaker who likes to “rebel” and sneak off to be with the boy she likes.

Shut off from the outside world Red Creek believes in extreme things - polygamy, doomsday prophecies, and that wome
Erin Bowman
My official comments:
A truly unique gem of a book. Set during the apocalypse and featuring a disturbing virus and terrifying cult, McWilliams’s tale is ultimately one of hope. Agnes is a fascinating heroine—determined, selfless, and brave. I was rooting for her from the very first page.

My unofficial comments:
This is a special novel, and one that's hard to sum up in a way that does the story justice. For me, it was two stories in one: an action-packed virus/outbreak/apocalypse story and a comi
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an early copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t you just love it when you discover a new favorite author? I think it’s one of the best things ever. Not only do you have a new favorite book in your hands but you also have discovered a new author who you will look forward to read more stories from💛

Agnes At The End Of The World was a quick read for me. When I started reading the books I *just* couldn’t stop reading... what can I say?! I really wanted to know what
Liana Grace
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Agnes at the End of the World is a dystopian novel about an oppressed girl who flees a fundamentalist cult to save the Outsiders from a mysterious pandemic. Dual POVs between Agnes and her sister, Beth amplify this emotional and powerful story, which eerily relates to what is going on in the world right now. The book includes mundane elements of contemporary life alongside some creepy paranormal and biblical elements that give it a fresh take on end-of the-world stories. Perfect for fans of the ...more
Agnes at the End of the World rips the heart from a well-trod genre, resurrecting it as something glittering and serene. What emerges is a complex tapestry of dystopian nightmares, rank idolatry, glowing spirituality, love, hope, and feminist power.

In honesty, end-of-world stories are absolutely where my heart leans, but I've been burned by so many tired testosterone brigades in the genre that I've stepped away from it. But when I saw this book, I knew that I had to take a chance, and I'm really
rachel ☾
Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

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Julie Eshbaugh
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. I stayed up way too late to finish it, so I’ll need to write a real review in the future, but for now I’ll just say it was SO GOOD!

Update: It would be impossible to put into a brief review all of what made this book so special. It's got breadth, depth, and overflows with love. Yes, there's romance, but the love that really comes through is family love, between Agnes and her siblings. While the story was so original and different from anything else I've ever read, it neve
Booktastically Amazing
[And once again, another review that I need to seriously edit but cannot find the energy to do so. Darn it]

WOW, I am speechless. Read it, just do it. Full review (with spoilers) at


This was beautiful. It was awesome. It just, ugh, I can’t explain it. It made me question everything and at the same time want to kill someone preferably the Prophet. Wow. I’m speechless and believe me everyone can tes
Jun 10, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnfed
DNF'ed @ pg 117

It's not a bad book, it has some gripping points, about religion/sects shaping the people, about women abuse and about family relationships. Also the medicine vs religion fight, for lack of better words.

But then there's also this "magic" element in which Agnes hears a humming that she interprets as the voice of God, singling her out and protecting her from Petra. And I just couldn't make that leap of faith. Because for me it wasn't really included into the narrative, not like the
Karima chermiti
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was ok

I really don’t know how to begin this review. It's weird that I have a lot to say about a book that didn’t have much to offer.

The premise was good, intriguing, and original yet the execution was boring and killed whatever potential Agnes at the End of the World had. The comparisons to Wilder Girls and The Handmaid's Tale will definitely raise expectations but to be honest, this book in my opinion doesn’t fit that at all. The characters go through a lot within this book and yet they still feel fl
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Here is a list of two things that go together:

1. Macaroni and Cheese
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly
3. Bacon and Eggs
4. Pros and Cons
5. Coffee and Me
6. Cults and pandemics

wait, what?

Welcome to my review of AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD. In other words, a review of one of the best books I've read in 2020 or, like, ever.

Agnes and her siblings live in Red Creek, a fundamentalist cult ruled by their Prophet and the Patriarchs. In order to keep her diabetic brother alive, Agnes sneaks out to get insulin fr
Bill Mullen
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the premise of this book, and, start to finish, it does not disappoint! Beth and Agnes are great foils for one another, and I loved seeing the story play out. You will stay up all night reading it.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I think this should be classified more clearly as YA religious fiction, I really wasn't expecting the religious elements after it being compared to wilder girls.

I defo think this book will have some people who will love it but it is quite a niche book and not really what I was expecting.
In scoping out the reviews for this book, the major complaint seems to be about the religious nature of the story. It was strange because that really did not bother me that much. I'm not sure what people who read the blurb were expecting. It was set in a breakaway Mormon unnamed cult in Arizona, who's leader was called "The Prophet" and who major tenant was arranged plural marriages. I would expect a young woman raised in this sort of environment would evaluate and judge her world and the happen ...more
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Agnes at the End of the World had an amazing premise and was described as The Handmaid's Tale meets Wilder Girls- two amazing, powerful books that I love deeply but have nothing to do with the main theme of this book.

I don't have anything to say against the writing (which is actually great), the world-building, the characters or even the story itself since it's not actually a bad story. This is an original book and Agnes' faith being confronted to the cult isn't without interest, but it was basi
Danielle Hammelef
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-ya-debuts
I loved my time inside the pages of this book and always had a difficult time putting it down. I enjoyed the characters that leapt from the pages and were so real to me. The family, friendships, and faith dramas, as well as learning to love yourself and respect diversity made this a well-rounded novel and one of my favorite books of the year. If you enjoy character-driven stories, stories that keep you guessing with surprises and twists, friendship, family (including found family too), and slow- ...more
Gayatri Saikia   | per_fictionist
Agnes at the end of the world is a whole new genre of fantasy that I've had the pleasure of reading. This book overwhelmed me with elements of sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia but most of all it is one such book that is so RELEVANT and IMPORTANT.

Agnes is about taking a stand, of shedding the notion that treats a misogynistic institution as superior and a classic tale of prevalence of good above evil.

I absolutely enjoyed everything about this book be it the author's slant writing, the two sisters duo
Scottsdale Public Library
Talk about a book being "ripped from today's headlines"! This well-written apocalyptic novel relates the tale of a cult in Red Creek Arizona, that shuns all Outsiders (those not in the community), believes in polygamy and, according to their charismatic, but frightening Prophet, will be the only survivors when the Rapture comes. Agnes is a young woman who is tasked with taking care of her father, a host of siblings and her depressed mother. When the young child, Ezekiel, falls ill, Agnes' mother ...more
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book-2020, 2020

I devoured this because once I started, I could not stop. When I wasn't reading this, I was thinking about reading this. I had to know what happened, to Agnes, to the compound, to everyone and everything. Brilliantly done and I cannot wait to write my review.

Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy!
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-favorite
It's been a bit since I had the incredible opportunity to read Agnes at the End of the World this past winter, but despite the time (and the current times) Kelly McWilliams's debut novel has stuck with me in the best way possible. It is simply exquisite.

Told from the alternating perspectives of two sisters born into a fanatically religious cult, McWilliams weaves together a complex narrative surrounding the deprogramming of the dangerously oppressive, life-long religious indoctrination of Agnes
Sarah {The Clever Reader}
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so cool! A cult of individuals cut off from the outside world where a pandemic is taking place! This book felt so realistic. I grew up in a small town where polygamists lived. I saw them on a regular basis at the local grocery store and when I got into the first part of this book it felt so real to me. These were the same people I'd learned about growing up so when we read the author's note and found out it is based off of the FLDS I knew I had it right..

Kelly did a great job of m
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Kelly is the author of the upcoming young adult novel, AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD (June, 2020, Little, Brown Young Readers), which benefitted from a We Need Diverse Books Mentorship. She lives in Colorado with her partner and young daughter.
Follow me on instagram @kellymmcwilliams

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