Angels Turn Their Backs

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Addy panics and runs back to her room, her heart pounding. She can't do it. She can't go to school. Addy is afraid of taking even one step out of the house. And it's worse than that. She can't hear people when they're right in front of her, yet she hears voices that no one else can. Addy feels as if she's falling apart. Where can she turn? Her parents have just split up and her one real friend is a thousand miles away. Addy wishes she were back at her old school, but she knows there's no going ...

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1998 Paperback Brand New Paperback, clean, tight, unmarked, no spine or cover creases. () Fifteen-year-old Addy panics and runs back to her room, her heart--pounding. She can't ... do it. She can't go to school. Addy is afraid afraid of taking even one step out of the house. And it's worse than that. She can't hear people when they're right in front of her, yet she hears voices that no one else can. Addy feels as if she's falling apart. Where can she turn? Her parents have just split up and her one real friend i. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Addy panics and runs back to her room, her heart pounding. She can't do it. She can't go to school. Addy is afraid of taking even one step out of the house. And it's worse than that. She can't hear people when they're right in front of her, yet she hears voices that no one else can. Addy feels as if she's falling apart. Where can she turn? Her parents have just split up and her one real friend is a thousand miles away. Addy wishes she were back at her old school, but she knows there's no going back. The trouble is, she can't move forward. She can't even leave her room. Margaret Buffie's Angels Turn Their Backs is a compelling, supernatural thriller about a girl whose life is suddenly turned upside down by agoraphobia.

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Editorial Reviews

The Expositor
Needpoint becomes an important part of (Addy's) story, a stepping stone between this life and the spirit life. It is through needlepoint that Addy meets the woman who once owned the house where they are living and who appears to have endured many of the same fears and phobias. Buffie has embroidered the themes of magic and mystery into all five of her young adult novels. In Angels, she incorporates the ghost with such a light touch readers can decide for themselves whether it's Addy's imagination at work or a real ghost that she encounters. The story gets some nice symbolism from a talking parrot intertwined with a recurring angel motif. Angels is a fine addition to Buffie's collection of award-winning work.
Quill and Quire
Margaret Buffie plunges us deep into her heroine's first full-fledged crippling panic attack. Fifteen-year old Addy Jarrick has moved to Winnipeg with her mom and is suddenly incapable of returning to school. She absolutely cannot go "Out There." Addy scrambles feverishly back into her second-floor flat, desperately trying to avoid their landlord and the quirky third-floor tenant. You're on the edge for this kid from the word go. Using the immediacy of first-person narration, Addy's panic is beautifully realized. "Fear wasn't new to me," she admits. "All my life I'd been afraid." We believe her, feel for her. But this being a Buffie book, psychological drama is not enough; there's also a paranormal component. A mysterious room on their floor is being used as storage for the personal belongings of the house's original owner, Lotta Engel. The room also houses an articulate loony parrot name Victor. This moulting pet of Lotta's is blessed with all the best lines and clues about the mystery of her tragic life. The "angels" turn up in a series of Lotta's exquisite needlepoint canvases. Soon Addy is hearing voices, feeling Lotta's presence. Was Lotta demented and deranged, or is Addy? The story is peopled with likeably flawed major and minor characters. Buffie resists the temptation to make cartoons of Addy's angry divorcing parents. Another plus is that Lotta's story never threatens to overtake Addy's. The chills are warmer than a horror story in this tale, which is first and foremost a good story. It will certainly satisfy Buffie Fans. (Teresa Toten, a writer in New York, Quill and Quire)
The Globe and Mail
A girl hero is centre-stage in Margaret Buffie's Angels Turn Their Backs. It's Addy Jarrick's story, beginning with her parent's breakup and her move to Winnipeg with her mum. The formerly "high functioning" teen-ager begins to disintegrate: can't go to school, can't leave the house, can't get up. Panic. And more panic. Buffie's preoccupation with things heard but not seen, seen but not heard, is not absent in this very readable, psychologically acute novel. --Susan Perren, The Globe and Mail
Simcoe Times Reformer
Buffie has written a wonderful book about a girl caught up in agoraphobia. This novel is a must read!
Books in Canada
Angels Turn Their Backs is a gripping, intelligent novel and Buffie's readers will likely be willing to follow her in this new direction for the sheer enjoyment of reading her excellent prose and getting to know her original, thoroughly modern characters.
NAPRA
The author masterfully weaves diverse elements into a flowing and believable first person narrative, leaving the reader feeling that one has discovered a special friend.
Daily American
Angels Turn Their Backs is a wonderful book. [It] is superior especially for teens who have problems about fear and parents splitting up. Margaret Buffie uses the characters to the fullest extent in the story.... Read this book and find out what happens to Addy's fear of going outside, and if she decides to finish the Angel for Lotta Engel, the old lady who could see angels. The characters really made the story. They complimented each other so well and there was even a little of the paranormal that made it all the more endearing to the heart and made it more realistic. Everyone can relate to the emotions, the actions taken in the story and cherish the story more for what it stands for and delight in the similarities found in their lives.
VOYA - Ann Bouricius
When fifteen-year-old Addy moves across the country with her mother, she finds herself overcome by fear of leaving their new apartment. At first, she tells her mother she is too ill to go to school-after all, Addy's mother is not afraid of anything and would never understand the cold sweats, terror, and incredible panic Addy feels whenever she tries to leave the house. However, almost against her will Addy becomes involved in the lives of the other people who live, and lived, in the apartment. There is Harmon, the landlord who bakes cookies and looks like a circus strong man; Page, who Addy thinks has it all together until she really looks at the bruises; and Victor, an opinionated parrot who belonged to the previous owner. Most significant of all is the ghost of Lotta Engel who, like Addy, was terrified to leave her house. Lotta's only company is her parrot and her needlework angels. Living in a new town during a Canadian winter, unable to leave her house or talk to her mother, Addy feels totally isolated. When Addy's world finally breaks down, she realizes she needs to tell her mother how truly afraid she is, and that she needs professional help.

Angels Turn Their Backs is the story of one girl's fear of going crazy, complicated by her struggle to accept her parents' divorce. The story is told in the first person, making the reader feel Addy's panic for the outside as well as her confusion over her own feelings. Populated with nicely-developed secondary characters who also change and grow, Buffie's book should appeal to thoughtful readers who want stories driven by character rather than plot.

VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).

Children's Literature - Yumiko Bendlin
When fifteen-year-old Abby Jarrick's parents separate suddenly, her mother decides to move away from Toronto to Winnipeg, far away from Addy's father, school, and her only friend. They move into an old apartment, and that's when Addy starts to become terrified of going outside. When she steps out of her apartment, her heart pounds, she panics, and she can't breathe because she is so scared. Abby thinks she is going crazy, and if her mother finds out about her fear, Addy is sure that she will be put in a mental institute. She tries to conceal her terror and convinces her mother that, instead of going to school, she will do better with a correspondence course. Then she finds that there is an abandoned room next to hers where a mysterious talking parrot lives in a cage. She also finds unfinished needlework of angels and she is somehow drawn to finishing the work. She gradually finds out about the terrifying secrets of the room, its previous occupant, the mysterious talking parrot, the angels, and her fear of going out. A real page-turner, as readers experience the struggles, fear, and panic with Abby.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Addy Jarrick, 15, thinks she is going crazy. Her mother has moved the two of them from Toronto to Winnipeg to take a new job, leaving her husband behind. After a horrible day at her new school, the teen develops panic attacks and becomes afraid of the outside world-what she calls "Out There." She continues to find excuses to stay home. She meets the landlord, Harmon; Page and Josh, who live in the building; Sean, Harmon's son; and Victor, a ridiculously intelligent parrot that once belonged to Lotta Engel, the woman who owned the building until her recent death. Throughout the book, Addy tries to cope with her fear of Out There without letting her mother catch on. There is a good combination of internal emotions with external happenings in Addy's life, but the characterizations of the girl's parents are two-dimensional. A parallel story involves Lotta Engel's ghost, who speaks through the parrot as she tries to convince Addy to finish her angel needlework. With the help of the people she has met and through appeasing Lotta's ghost, Addy is able to take the first step toward healing. References to Alanis Morissette and the X-Files will date the story in just a few years, and the Lotta Engel plot line is a bit silly, but the fear of failure and the pain of separation will keep readers interested.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL
Kirkus Reviews
On her first day at a new school, Addy, 15, has a panic attack and races out; without understanding what is happening to her, she finds herself unable to leave the safety of her home. Everything in her world first changed when her parents separated and Addy moved from Toronto to Winnipeg with her mother. Now Addy convinces her mother (a bit too easily) to let her home-school; while she spends the days in the confines of an apartment house, she meets new and strangely fascinating people, and attempts to unravel a mystery of the former owner of the house. The atmospheric, introspective prose moves slowly, as does the plot, but readers gain a realistic sense of Addy's state of mind; a sensitive portrait of a troubled girl coping with abrupt changes emerges. The mystery of the agoraphobic needlepoint artist who died in the house bogs down Addy's story; it is the least compelling element, relayed mostly in the screeching taunts of a very talkative parrot. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553370987
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Buffie is an award-winning author of young adult books. Her books include The Watcher and Angels Turn Their Backs. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Fabulous!

    I found this novel gripping, scary, funny, sad and yet full of hope. Any kid who feels out of place can identify with Addy and cheer for her when she succeeds in overcoming her fears and maybe find some comfort for their own struggles. I adored it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2010

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