Eva of the Farm

illus. by Kate Slater. 236p. CIP. S & S/Atheneum. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-1700-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-1702-1. LC 2010051917.
Gr 5–7—Circumstances created by the great recession coupled with unexpected medical bills and a crop-killing disease in the pear trees place Eva's family farm in foreclosure. It seems that these days, the 12-year-old is losing just about everything she loves: Grandma Helen, who supported her poetry writing, has died; her best friend moved to Seattle; and now she might have to say goodbye to the farm, her sanctuary with its apple trees, haunted outhouse, and sun daisies. Written in verse that is more cathartic expression than storytelling, Eva's own poems are scattered throughout and accented with italicized spurts that highlight her feelings, fears, and frustrations. In an effort to raise money to help her parents meet the bank's requirements, Eva sells her poetry at the local farmer's market. After a newspaper interviews her for a piece about the economy, Eva is profiled on TV and a Seattle talk show where she brings media attention to her family's plight. Despite her sincere efforts, she eventually must acquiesce to her family's financial misfortune and accept a new future even as she vows to always remain in spirit, "Eva of the farm." Like the protagonist in Katherine Hannigan's Ida B (Greenwillow, 2004), Eva presents a sense of urgency and pathos through the symbolism of an orchid's companionship. The beautifully composed language slowly relays Eva's journey through the realities of adult problems, and intuitive readers will appreciate the lyrical and metaphorical imagery. Collagelike illustrations introduce each section. This text offers much to prompt discussion and poetry writing.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
When life on the family farm as twelve-year-old Eva knows it is threatened by a recession, fire blight, and sudden medical expenses, she turns to her great passion--poetry--for comfort, self-expression, and a possible means of making money. Eva's beautifully constructed, imagistic poems within this novel shine, allaying the minor lyrical inconsistencies of the main verse narration.

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