Always, Abigail

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Overview

A 2015-16 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee! "Brimming with honestly and heart."-Caroline Starr Rose, award-winning author of May B.

Sixth grade to-do list:
•Make the pom-pom squad!
•Get photo in the yearbook
•With Alli and Cami, become the three most popular girls at Crestdale Heights Middle School!

Abigail and her two best friends are poised ...

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Always, Abigail

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Overview

A 2015-16 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee! "Brimming with honestly and heart."-Caroline Starr Rose, award-winning author of May B.

Sixth grade to-do list:
•Make the pom-pom squad!
•Get photo in the yearbook
•With Alli and Cami, become the three most popular girls at Crestdale Heights Middle School!

Abigail and her two best friends are poised for a life of pom-poms and popularity-until Abigail doesn't make the squad. And is assigned a different homeroom. And gets the school's biggest outcast as her Friendly Letter partner. Abigail can hardly believe her bad luck! Gabby is really nice, but she's so weird! It's not like Abigail can stop her classmates from making fun of Gabby...right?

"Told in the hyper-chatty, status-obsessed voice of your secretly sweet best friend, Always, Abigail is always adorable." -Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever

Praise for This Journal Belongs to Ratchet:

"A book that is full of surprises...Triumphant."-Kirkus, STARRED review
"Cavanaugh uses bold, often humorous first-person narration to capture the essence of an unconventional heroine."-Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/08/2014
In a format akin to that of her debut, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, Cavanaugh offers an accessible and insightful coming-of-age story told primarily through lists and letters, and embellished with doodles. Abigail and her best friends Alli and Cami are starting sixth grade with the goal of fulfilling a lifelong dream: becoming pom-pom girls. But Alli and Cami wind up in a different homeroom than Abigail, and while they both make the pom-pom squad, Abigail is named an alternate. Further compromising her social standing, Abigail is paired up with school pariah Gabby for a writing assignment. Seasoned readers may foresee Abigail's journey to choosing real friendship with Gabby over the lure of popularity, but the story holds a few unexpected turns, as well as a strong sense of the emotional, physical, psychological, and moral growth that often accompany the middle-school years. Cavanagh builds the relationship between Gabby and Abigail with a tender and knowing touch, allowing funny moments to rest alongside cringe-worthy ones. Ages 9–12. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
""Written in short lists, letters, notes, and journal entries, the novel's mixed-media format will appeal to reluctant readers, and Abigail's voice rings true... The story is honest without being preachy, and many middle school readers will relate to Abigail's struggle to balance social pressures with her own moral compass."" - School Library Journal

"This kind of dilemma is very pertinent for middle school girls...[Cavanaugh] handles it with tact and sensitivity, taking her heroine on a psychological journey from superficial to thoughtful." - Kirkus

"Cavanaugh creates a layered and interesting character in Gabby, the resilient girl everyone loves to pick on. And Abigail has depths she herself hasn't considered... Just the right amount of lightness and pathos will hook readers looking for something (a) engaging and (b) just a little bit different." - Booklist

""Told in the hyper-chatty, status-obsessed voice of your secretly sweet best friend, Always, Abigail is always adorable." - Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever
" -

""Brimming with honesty and heart." — Caroline Starr Rose, award-winning author of MAY B.
" -

"The story is never preachy. Readers who empathize with Abigail's desire to do the right thing while holding onto her privileged status can see for themselves the consequences of failing. For kids on the cusp of young adulthood and ready to advance as quickly as possible, Always, Abigail makes a compelling case for being kind and enjoying a little more of childhood while it lasts." - BookPage

"Lists organize the story in a unique way. It is like reading a journal without becoming strict narrative, keeping us out of the "telling instead of showing" trap... Abigail has a distinct voice and very real problems. The book explores the difference between what we think will make us happy and what actually pleases us." - The One and Only Marfalfa

"Always, Abigail with its eye-catching cover and true to life story is a book that kept me and the kids entertained at reading time each night. With witty text and a realistic storyline, it was great to share this book with my children." - Little Ones Read

"A little gem... Cavanaugh works through Abigail's feelings of being left out, making friends with someone labeled a loser, and the guilt of not wanting her new friendship known, with grace and reality... The transition to middle school is tough for most and Cavanaugh conveys that journey with candor, hope and humor." - At the Library with Paula

"For those currently in the thick of it, Always, Abigail is the perfect book. Abigail's voice is so perfectly honest and real. She comes across as genuine, vulnerable, and sympathetic" - Random Musings of a Bibliophile

School Library Journal
07/01/2014
Gr 5–7—Abigail Walters is starting sixth grade, and this is her year. She and her lifelong best friends, Alli and Cami, have been practicing for pom-pom squad tryouts for months, and when they all become poms, it will open the doors to popularity. Unfortunately for Abigail, the year starts with a hitch when she is assigned to a different homeroom than AlliCam, as she calls them, and things go from bad to worse when she gets paired up with the school's biggest outcast, Gabby Marco, for a letter-writing project. Then, worst of all, Abigail doesn't make the squad. As the year carries on, Abigail becomes more estranged from AlliCam, and to her surprise, she starts to form a friendship with Gabby. When she has the chance to be a pom-pom girl after all, she's forced to decide which is more important: her newfound popularity or standing up for what she knows is right. Written in short lists, letters, notes, and journal entries, the novel's mixed-media format will appeal to reluctant readers, and Abigail's voice rings true. What's more, her conflicting emotions about the friendships in her life resonate. The story is honest without being preachy, and many middle school readers will relate to Abigail's struggle to balance social pressures with her own moral compass.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Abington School District, PA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-12
A sixth-grade girl has to decide between friendship and popularity.Winning a coveted place on the middle school pompom squad means popularity, cool guys and schoolwide fame. To list-loving protagonist Abigail, who narrates the story in the first person in a list format, it means the world. But, unlike Abigail's two barely differentiated best friends, Alli and Cami, Abigail only makes alternate. Worse, Gabby Marco, "the number one outcast at Crestdale Heights," is assigned to be Abigail's partner for the friendly-letter assignment. Slowly, grudgingly, Abigail comes to both like and admire Gabby, and together, the two of them volunteer to read stories to kindergarteners, which they both enjoy. But after a bit of luck secures Abigail a permanent spot as a pompom girl, she has to decide if Gabby's low position on the school totem pole makes friendship tenable. Gabby, though eccentric, is portrayed as all good, while the pompom girls don't have an ounce of kindness or compassion among them. And unrealistically, Abigail's choice is set up as a binary choice between pompom girl and everything it represents or Gabby and the kindergarteners, with no flexibility to move between worlds.Nonetheless, this kind of dilemma is very pertinent for middle school girls, and Cavanaugh largely handles it with tact and sensitivity, taking her heroine on a psychological journey from superficial to thoughtful. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402293030
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 102,743
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a BS in education and an MA in curriculum and instruction with multiple published works. She was a teacher for more than fifteen years and currently works as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Tarpon Springs, FL with her husband and daughter. Visit www.nancyjcavanaugh.com

Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a BS in education and an MA in curriculum and instruction with multiple published works. She was a teacher for more than fifteen years and currently works as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Tarpon Springs, FL with her husband and daughter. Visit www.nancyjcavanaugh.com

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Read an Excerpt

Three Reasons Making Pom-Poms Is More Important Than Anything Else

1. Alli and Cami, my two best friends, and I saw the Crestdale Heights pom-pom girls for the first time when we were in third grade. It was love at first sight! The sequined outfits, the hats, the pom-poms, and the music. We looked at each other after the first routine and knew why we'd all been born: to be POM-POM GIRLS.

Since then, we've made up exactly seventeen different routines. We've talked our moms into buying us five different matching outfits. And we've downloaded ninety-eight songs we can use for pom-pom routines.

All three of our families, especially our brothers (we each have one), wish we'd never seen those pom-pom girls. But the three of us know that was the day we found our DESTINY.

2. Everyone who's anyone is a pom-pom girl.

At Crestdale Heights Middle School, pom-pom girls are practically celebrities.

(Okay, Crestdale Heights isn't really a middle school; it's really Crestdale Heights K through 8. But the little K through 5 kids are NOT allowed in the middle school hallway, so it's sort of like a real middle school.)

On game days, pom-pom girls get to wear their uniforms to school. It's like Oscar night on the red carpet, and the pom-pom girls are wearing the best designer in town.

3. BOYS.

Boys notice pom-pom girls. (Even seventh- and eighth-grade boys.) And once they notice them, they talk to them, they hang out with them, and eventually...(Okay, I'm not really sure what comes next, but who cares?!)

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted November 29, 2014

    Synopsis- Abigail Walters was entering the sixth grade, and, alo

    Synopsis- Abigail Walters was entering the sixth grade, and, along with her best friends Alli and Cami, can’t wait to become a Pompom Girl. Then everything goes wrong. Alli and Cami get the same homeroom, and have the same teachers. Abigail has the meanest homeroom teacher in the school. When that teacher assigns a project where you write letters to an assigned person in the class, Abigail gets paired with Gabby – an outcast-y, “weird”-type – and Abigail dreads it. But what if she actually starts to like Gabby? And starts to realize that her friends aren’t as nice as she thought they were?

    What I liked-This was a great book about choosing what you should do, over what you want to do. At first, I wasn’t sure about the writing style of the book, it started off as list after list after list, but then I figured out that the book was written like a notebook, and I found myself really liking it. Abigail tells her story though lists and small paragraphs (for example: 3 Reasons I Know I Was Born To Be A PomPom Girl, and What I Wanted To Say, But Didn’t). The style really grew on me. Abigail has always wanted to be one of those popular “PomPom Girls” (I am figuring that is a cheerleader), but first, she doesn’t get any classes with her two best friends, and then, in her Language Arts room, she gets partnered with the biggest “loser” in 6th grade and she pretty much thinks her life is over. I didn’t really like how Abigail blatantly calls Gabby (her partner), a “loser” in her notebook. I really disliked her at first, but I guess that is the point of the story. ;) Abigail goes through a natural, yet significant, character change. As a reader, I really enjoy that in a book.
    *NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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