This is one of those light, airy reads that are so much deeper than they appear.
Evie, born and brought up in Ireland, must move to live with the uncle she’s hardly ever met in New York – Manhattan to be precise. She doesn’t want to go, and is determined that after the summer she’ll be going back home to Dublin. In the meantime, she gets to know Uncle Scott, who’s a vet, his dog, his patients and their fairly eccentric owners, his partner Joanne, and his truly horrible girlfriend, Leela. She makes friends, and gets to know her way round New York too.
For many girls that would be a dream come true, and it all makes for a very lively read, with a different adventure, or different animal star in nearly every chapter. Evie is a very likeable central character, sharp, funny, thoroughly convincing.
Beneath the fun and the froth though, we never forget the real reason that Evie is in New York. Her mother has died, leaving her effectively an orphan, since she’s never known her father. Evie’s grief is sensitively described, the hole her mother has left very real. In a particularly poignant touch, it’s only towards the very end of the book, on the death of her friend’s parrot, that she’s finally able to cry for her mum. We know just how hard it is for Evie, worried that she’s a burden on her uncle; we can see too, though it isn’t said, just how much he loves her.
Of course, Evie decides she will stay with her uncle and the friends she’s made in the Big Apple. By then, the reader will feel like one of Evie’s circle, and the surprise twist sprung on us by the author in the last chapter, will make the wait for book two in this new series even harder.