The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods

( 6 )

Overview

Amanda Woods is discovering that there are some things in life you just can’t change, like who your parents are or how your older sister treats you, but she is determined to change what she can. To begin with, she’s not going to be just plain Amanda Woods (the girl her mother seems to think is just average). She’s going to be Amanda K. Woods—someone who is proud and strong and sure of herself, someone who can have a French pen pal and a best friend of her own choosing, someone who finds four-leaf clovers and can ...

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Overview

Amanda Woods is discovering that there are some things in life you just can’t change, like who your parents are or how your older sister treats you, but she is determined to change what she can. To begin with, she’s not going to be just plain Amanda Woods (the girl her mother seems to think is just average). She’s going to be Amanda K. Woods—someone who is proud and strong and sure of herself, someone who can have a French pen pal and a best friend of her own choosing, someone who finds four-leaf clovers and can get perfect scores on her math homework. There is more to Amanda than anyone else can see, things about her that Amanda herself doesn’t even know yet, but she’s finding out. In her first novel for older children, Ann Cameron presents a heroine who is philosophical and honest as only a twelve-year-old can be.

Living in a rural community in Wisconsin during the 1950s, eleven-year-old Amanda gradually and painfully learns a lot about herself, her parents, and her older sister.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Cameron paints a sensitive portrait of an 11-year-old loner in this story set in 1950s Wisconsin...[Amanda's] growing pains, gracefully conveyed though quiet, contemplative narrative, will hit home with many readers." —Publishers Weekly

"Cameron displays a virtuoso gift for precision, telling observations, and creative but unforced imagery." —Starred, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Amanda K. Woods is a girl to like—she just doesn't know it yet. She's quirky, serious, impulsive, imaginative, perceptive, smart, and now, sharp...Amanda is the story, and she's as funny as she is wise." —Kirkus Reviews, pointer review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This National Book Award finalist, set in 1950s Wisconsin, centers on an 11-year-old girl's coming of age. PW called her transformation "less dramatic than a butterfly's metamorphosis, but just about as impressive." Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Amanda is a young girl growing up in rural Wisconsin in the 1950s. In spite of the isolation in a small town there are changes which are taking place in her life, her sister Margaret's life, her father's life and her mother's life. Margaret, who has been "shaped" by her mother, is going off to Wellesley to begin her studies towards eventually becoming a doctor. This leaves her, the average, clumsy, tomboyish eleven years old left to be shaped by her mother. Amanda doesn't look forward to that at all. She is really closer to her father. He taught how to ride a horse, how to fish how to swim and how to shoot a gun. But he really doesn't talk to her. She wishes that would change. The author provides us with the experience of witnessing the growth and development of a young girl who learns to reach out instead of pulling inward.
School Library Journal
When her best friend, Lyle Leveridge, moves away, Amanda is convinced that she will never be happy again. Growing up during the 1950s in rural Wisconsin, she feels isolated and lonely. Her older sister Margaret is far too pretty and smart to be an ally, her mother holds herself aloof from the community, and her father is distant. Gradually, Amanda's luck changes -- she makes a new friend, gains a French pen pal, does better at school, and forges a closer bond with her father. Despite some lovely moments, the slow-moving plot and lack of drama in Amanda's situation will discourage most readers. The writing sometimes sparkles but mostly drags. Many of the events strain credibility (the pen pal comes to visit despite Amanda's explicit plea not to; her father suddenly finds courage to disagree with his snobbish and controlling wife). Also, the cultural references (Pat Boone, Patti Page, 'Come Back, Little Sheba') will be meaningless to most young people. Cameron has written many excellent books for children, but this one has neither the voice nor the verve needed to succeed. -- Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, Massachusetts
Kirkus Reviews
Amanda K. Woods, 12, is a girl to like; she just doesn't know it yet. She's quirky, serious, impulsive, imaginative, perceptive, smart, and now, sharp, thanks to the addition of the K that stands like a sword flashing confidently in the middle of her name. In an opening scene, Amanda says good-bye to Lyle Leveridge, former neighbor and friend who leaves behind, at her suggestion, the legacy of his right hand, which she 'exchanges' with her own in a tingling, did-it-really-happen episode. That hand seems to give her special powers when it comes to baking muffins to her mother's specifications, writing letters to a French pen pal, seeking the advice of a yogi, and more, in Rome, Wisconsin, circa 1950. Casting aside her mother's meticulous criterion, older sister Margaret's Dale Carnegie-inspired thoughts, and the dubious punditry of women's magazines, Amanda learns to see through her own eyes, speak 'her own real thoughts.' Cameron (More Stories Huey Tells) avoids grand revelations in favor of singular insights that affirm girlhood without self-consciousness. As Amanda moves from alone to alive, she becomes strong, but not impossibly so, realizing that her special powers are those inside her, not borrowed from the Lone Ranger or a boy's hand. Amanda is the story, and she's as funny as she is wise.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250044198
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 430,870
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN CAMERON is the author of many books for children, including The Stories Julian Tells, More Stories Julian Tells, The Stories Huey Tells, More Stories Huey Tells, and The Most Beautiful Place in the World. She grew up in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, graduated from Radcliffe College, and earned an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2006

    I love this book

    I love this book because, she gets dumped by her friend Pam after her friend Lyle moves away and she switches hands with him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006

    GREAT AND KIDS CAN RELATE!

    I think this book is great. All girls can relate to this story! I am reading it now and I absolutely LLOVE it! I totally recomend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    A book of change!

    This was a great book! It is about friendship, and people who are having friendship problems should read this book! It is soooooo clever, touching and very smart! Good job, Ann Cameron!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    A great book

    I think this is a very good book.It's about a girl named Amanda.K Woods.It shows on how you can go from friendless to great friends.I think its a great book on how someone can change.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003

    A can relate to book

    Amanda K Woods is a great book for any teen that feels outta place in life, and thinks everything is wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    One Of My Favorites!!!

    The Secret Life Of Amanda K. Woods is a great book. It's about an eleven year-old girl named Amanda Woods. Many normal things happen to her that might happen to us. Then she decides to change her name from Amanda Karen Woods to Amanda K. Woods. I think it's a really good book because it's about a mormal girl like us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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