Change, loss, friendship and choices are all highlights in this middle-grade story, Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew takes a twelve-year old Evie from her friends and home in Dublin, and whisks her away to New York City, an Uncle she barely remembers and a very busy veterinary clinic.
Evie’s mother has recently died, and her only relative, her Uncle Scott, has gained custody. Completely overwhelmed and not sure she can handle yet another change, Evie is not thrilled with the decision. It’s bad enough to lose your Mum, but all her friends, her life, everything she knows is in Dublin, and Scott, although willing, is unfamiliar. Scott’s amiability and true understanding for Evie are highlighted when he gets her to do a “trial run”, and if, after the summer she hates New York, she can come back to Dublin to stay with her Godmother.
Off to the Upper West side, Evie and Scott start to feel their way along in this new relationship. There’s just one problem, Scott’s girlfriend Leela, who isn’t thrilled with the interloper that will challenge her demands on the limited time that the busy veterinarian has free. When you add in Evie’s grief, Scott’s struggle to keep her engaged and involved, and not ignore his relationship while managing a practice, there are plenty of engaging elements to keep the story moving forward.
On the whole, I found Evie engaging and solidly voiced, while she worked through her grief she did find many intriguing and new things, and animals galore – from exotic (Iguanas and snapping turtles) to ordinary dogs and cats. Well developed, you can see the city through Evie’s fresh eyes, and understand her needing to keep busy as she deals with her grief. Adults are also more than just window dressing, her relationship with Scott and the conflicts with Leela feel honest and are well-spaced: not too much acting out or angst. The showdown at the end, combined with Evie’s own guilt over some situations with Scott bring her to the cliffhanger… will she stay in New York, or return to Dublin.
Wonderfully paced, easy to read, and quite appropriate for 10 year olds and up, this story delicately balances the concept of grief and loss with the ordinary exuberance of a curious 12 year old in the midst of changes, and is a wonderfully clever read.
Title: Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan
Author: Sheila Agnew
Genre: Children's Literature, Middle Grade Fiction
Published by: Pajama Press
Published on: 3 November 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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New York City. Evie Brooks has seen it on the TV, but she never imagined herself living there. But when her mother dies, Evie finds herself leaving her home in Dublin and moving to Manhattan to visit with her American uncle for the summer.
Never having owned a pet more substantial than a goldfish, twelve-year-old Evie is intrigued by Uncle Scott’s veterinary practice, and before long is working as an assistant in the clinic. Soon she finds herself immersed in dogs galore, parrots, reptiles, and an assortment of other creatures and their eccentric owners. And she loves it.
Manhattan would be just about perfect if it weren’t for Uncle Scott’s lawyer girlfriend, who has plans for him that do not involve Evie. Before the summer is over, Evie has an important decision to make: stay in New York and confront the problem of Scott’s girlfriend or return to Ireland to live with her godmother.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.