Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Children's Book Review: Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew

Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew is a fun, quirky and fresh novel for young girls that also manages to tackle some big issues. 

The book blurb reads: 
After Evie Brooks’ mother dies, she is forced to go live with her uncle Scott, a vet in New York City: between the pets, their owners, Scott and his lawyer girlfriend, the Summer quickly becomes a whirlwind of change and activity!

Evie is a very relatable protagonist with buckets of character and an endearing personality. We meet Evie at a very difficult time in her life, just after the death of her mother. Throughout the story we witness how Evie tries to manage her grief and cope with her loss but incredibly the overall tone of the book isn't morose or sad. 

The book is full of colourful characters with personal stories that make their individual plot lines very enjoyable. No-one in this book has the perfect life and many of the characters have complex back stories but they all manage to muddle through with the help of one another. The book is full of lovely relationships, with bonds of friendship and love being a central theme. In particular, the developing relationship between Evie and her uncle Scott is charming to watch unfold. 

One of the most impressive things about Marooned In Manhattan is the diverse range of themes that the author tackles including; death, adoption, running away, money problems, animal cruelty and emigration - this book manages to address huge themes in a very natural and simple way. 

Some of our favourite chapters are the ones where Evie is working with her Uncle Scott and his colleague, Joanna in the veterinary clinic or on call. The range of animals that Evie meets and their vivacious pet owners are all fantastically imaginative. 

The book builds at an enjoyable pace, peaking with an excellently written penultimate chapter which sees Evie take on her greatest nemesis, her uncle's girlfriend Leela, in a nail biting showdown. A couple of things that we were expecting to happen in the final chapter weren't quite wrapped up as neatly as we had hoped - but we guess that means we will have to read the next installment! 

Overall we highly recommend this book for young girls aged 8-12. It's a really fun, heart warming read with the ability to positively influence and educate the reader. 

Thank you to the O'Brien Press for sending us this book to review :-)

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