Cover image for Welcome home or someplace like it
Welcome home or someplace like it
Agell, Charlotte.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, [2003]

Physical Description:
230 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Thirteen-year-old Aggie Wing documents the events of her summer in Ludwig, Maine, where she and her brother stay with their ninety-one-year-old grandfather while their mother, a writer of romance novels, is away doing research.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 6.0 73844.
Geographic Term:
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A refreshingly witty and moving novel that uncovers the true meaning of "home" "Mom's left us a lot. She left us in Dayton, Denver, and Detroit. She left us in Tucson and Teaneck. I make it sound like a song, but it's true. Except that we never did live in Tucson, I just needed another T-town. Anyway, if we had lived in Tucson, she would have left us there too. Unlike Dad, she always does come back." Aggie B. Wing and her brother, Thorne, are relocating again. This time their writer-mom is dropping them off for the summer in Ludwig, Maine, with their estranged ninety-one-year-old grandfather who receives phone calls in his leg and happens to sleep all day. Still, Aggie is determined to find some good in this move. What's not to like about a two-bit town in the middle of nowhere with only a Quikstop, a funny old church called Our Lady of the Wilderness, and a tiny island full of cat bones? Once Aggie begins exploring the town and meets the indelible Mad, however, things start to get really interesting. Could there be miracles at play in Ludwig? More specifically, could this quirky town be home for once and all? In a stunning debut novel, Charlotte Agell proves that finding your way home can happen in the most unexpected of ways.

Author Notes

Charlotte Agell teaches creative writing and English on the junior-high level. She lives with her family in Brunswick, Maine. The author-illustrator of several picture books, this is her first novel for teen readers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Writing in her twenty-seventh personal notebook, Aggie has plenty to say about her new home, Ludwig, Maine, and its idiosyncratic inhabitants. Her mother, always on the move, leaves Aggie and her brother, Thorne, to stay with their elderly, eccentric grandfather, whom they have never met. They feel like outsiders until they get to know the people in the tiny coastal town, discover hidden pieces of family history, and find their own places in the community. Written with humor as well as reflection, Aggie's breezy, first-person account of her experiences makes engaging reading, and, adding to the fun are childlike drawings, purportedly by Aggie, along with comments on the people or things pictured. Fans of the Marissa Moss's Amelia's Notebook series may feel right at home with Agell's approach in this longer, more complex story for older readers. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Spunky and observant, 13-year-old Aggie B. Wing narrates picture book author/artist Agell's (I Swam with a Seal) perky debut novel, presented in the form of "Notebook #27," Aggie's illustrated journal. Aggie and her 16-year-old brother, Thorne, have just met their nonagenarian grandfather when their romance-novelist mother decides to leave them at his house in small-town Maine, so she can research her latest work in Niagara Falls. (Mom goes off so often that Aggie speculates anxiously, "Maybe I give her writer's block or something, and that's why she always has to leave.") Aggie and Thorne slowly warm up to the quirky townspeople, and to their 91-year-old grandfather, who does jigsaw puzzles by night, sleeps in the day and, occasionally, takes prophetic telephone calls from his foot. As summer lazily unfolds, Aggie makes a friend who is an avid naturalist, discovers that her mother had a twin brother who died at 17, teaches her grandfather to swim and then has to rescue him, and more. The biggest news is a "miracle" that occurs at the local church where Thorne works; for Aggie, feeling like she finally has a home is miracle enough. This novel may suffer from the comparisons it inevitably invites with Polly Horvath's The Canning Season, which shares much the same premise, but Aggie's lively voice and agile commentary will keep readers engaged. Ages 9-15. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-8-Aggie Wing's father left home for a can of Campbell's Tomato Rice soup and never returned. Ever since, the 13-year-old and her older brother, Thorne, have lived in countless places with their vagabond, romance-writer mother. This evocative, insightful novel takes the form of notebook #27, the girl's record of the summer the family drives to her 91-year-old grandfather's house in Ludwig, ME, population 159. The teens arrive with few expectations, but it doesn't take long for Aggie to lay roots in her mother's childhood home. It takes even less time for her mom to take off to Niagara Falls to research her new book. Though more than a bit eccentric-the old man claims to get phone calls from his left foot-he seems to sense what his grandchildren need. As the season passes, Aggie smells mudflats, swims in the icy coastal waters, makes a friend, and teaches Grandpa to swim. Thorne gets a job as church caretaker. The girl is stunned to discover that her mother had a twin who died when he was 17, after which she ran away. Just when a comedy of errors has the town believing in miracles, a true miracle occurs: Meredith Bellicose comes home, and it looks as though Ludwig's new population is 162. The notebook is peppered with humorous, annotated portraits, sketches, and diagrams. This novel has strong and winning characters; excellent pacing; and a lazy, nostalgic setting.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.