Monday, December 7, 2015

BLOG TOUR w/GIVEAWAY: Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew


After Evie Brooks’ mother dies, her American uncle Scott, whom Evie barely remembers, arrives in Dublin. Much to Evie’s dismay, she’ll have to go and live with Scott in New York City.

Having never owned a pet more substantial than a goldfish, Evie is intrigued by her uncle’s NYC veterinary practice. Scott engages Evie as an assistant in the clinic. Thus begins a series of light-hearted adventures with lovable animals and their sometimes lovable owners.

At the end of the summer, Evie has to make the choice of whether or not to return to live in Ireland with her godmother, Janet..


Evie Brooks moves to New York to live with her Uncle Scott after her mother dies.  Having lived in Europe her whole life it is rather a bit of a shock and at first she is eager to return to live with her mother's friend in Ireland.  But as she settles into life in New York and her uncle's vet practice and makes some friends she starts to change her mind.  On the other hand though, her uncle's girlfriend is a nightmare and is plotting to get rid of Evie.  And Evie can't bear the thought that her presence is ending her uncle into bankruptcy.  But she is determined to get this woman out of her uncle's life before she goes back to Ireland.  While I enjoyed the majority of the story, there were a few things here and there that I wasn't completely comfortable with (a housekeeper that cleans the house in her bra?! and a sleepover girlfriend) that didn't seem necessary to the story.  Other than those minor details though the story is an interesting one with lots of interesting animal stories as Evie helps her uncle. Overall a fun read for young readers who are ready for a taste of something different.


Sheila Agnew is a New York based Irish writer. Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan has been shortlisted for the Irish Literary Association’s Children’s Book of the Year, 2015. Evie Brooks in Central Park Showdown is an Irish Times Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2014. You can learn more about Sheila on her website.

INTERVIEW with Sheila Agnew

*What's the story behind the story?

When I was a child, I loved reading James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series (and I loved the BBC TV series, which is on Netflix). They are about James, a young Scottish vet living in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930’s, dealing with all kinds of animals and their often eccentric owners. The books are full of warmth and comfort and humor. So I wanted to write a series like that but through the filter of my own experiences. The Evie books are set in contemporary Manhattan and are narrated by an Irish girl. Scott and Evie even live in my old building on West 77th Street between Columbus and Central Park West.

*What do you enjoy most/least about writing?

I love the freedom of writing. It’s your world, your characters and your ideas. There are no rights or wrongs. There are no rules. You get to choose: funny, scary, profound, silly . . . it’s up to you.

Sometimes at night I feel euphoric because I think I’ve written a brilliant scene. Then when I look at the pages the next morning, I think: who on earth wrote this rubbish? . . . oh, I did. This isn’t brilliant; this is very, very far from brilliant. So that can be a bit of a let-down.

*What's something that most people don't know about you?

Most people don’t know that I never eat eggs. There’s a great, classic old movie, called “Cool Hand Luke” with Paul Newman. There’s a scene where he eats fifty eggs in one sitting for a dare. I would never ever be able to eat fifty eggs. I can just about manage a bowl of egg-fried rice.

*What is your writing process like?

I get an idea for a scene and I start by writing that scene and I just take it from there. When I get stuck I go back and look at what I’ve written. Usually I find clues that tell me what to write next. At some stage in the process, usually at the end of the first third of the first draft, I realize how the book ends. Sometimes I even know the last sentence of the book. I love when that happens because it’s a lot easier to get to your destination when you know where you are going.

*What are you currently working on?

I’m putting the very final layer of gloss on a thriller called The Exclusion Wars. It’s set in 2025 and it tells the story of Mateo, a Latino teenager in hiding in New York. It was a gut-wrenchingly intense book to write. It’s for adults of all ages. In relation to my next project, I haven’t decided yet. I wrote a legal thriller for adults called Stayaway that needs a bit more work, and I’ve written a fantasy novel for children, which needs a lot more work. I think I fell into all the traps of a novice fantasy writer, the hairy teenage dwarf with an attitude character, yada yada. I’ve also started a YA book about two British teenage sisters living in Buenos Aires at the time of the Falklands War, and I want to write a creative non- fiction book about the trip the writer Sybille Bedford took to Mexico in 1946. Gulp. I’ve got a lot of writing to do. Thanks very much for the interview!


1 print copy of Evie Brooks is Marroned in Manhattan (thanks to the publisher!)
US/Canada only

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Monday, December 7: Review, interview, and giveaway at Geo Librarian

Wednesday, December 9: Guest post, interview, and giveaway at Caught Read Handed

Friday, December 11: Guest post at The Roarbots

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