CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 9. . . .October 30, 2015
Evie Brooks is 12 year old Irish girl who has just lost her mother to illness. Although the adult relative Evie knows best in the world is her godmother, her mother decided that it was best for Evie to relocate and live with her uncle, a veterinarian. Evie reluctantly leaves Dublin, her friends and godmother to try a summer in New York City.
The result is a somewhat predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, romp through a vet's office, Central Park and new friends. While Evie gets along well with her uncle and loves helping with the animals at his clinic, she loathes her uncle’s self absorbed girlfriend, Leela. Like many female villains, Leela is the ultimate high heel wearing two dimensional Barbie doll gone crazy. She thinks only of herself, is vain and money obsessed. Readers know nothing about Leela's motivations or past, only that she wants Evie to go back to Ireland and schemes to make it happen.
Because Evie is certain that her uncle will be deaf to her warnings, she manages to secure the assistance of an equally two dimensional, sensible shoe wearing wife of a friend of her uncle’s to expose the true Leela. Her efforts turn out to be unnecessary. Her uncle knows that Leela is wrong for him and ends the relationship on his own. Not too surprisingly, Evie can stay in her new home.
It is worth noting that this is not a book on grief. Evie's mother's death instigates her Manhattan adventure, nothing more. There are some moments of sadness, but this is not a book for middle school youth struggling with grief. It is a feel good tale with funny animal stories, and even funnier stories about the animal owners. Despite the predictable nature of the story, there is some diversity in the ethnicity of characters and types of families.
Young female readers who enjoy authors like Wendy Mass will enjoy Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan. It will also appeal to animal lovers or readers interested in becoming a veterinarian.
Sophia Hunter is a teacher librarian at Crofton House Junior School in Vancouver, BC.
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