From School Library Journal
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, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Eva's spirit soars."--Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse
"Named after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s heroine from his epic poem Evangeline, 12-year-old Eva lives on her family’s beloved Acadia Orchard in Eastern Washington. In this beautiful, tightly woven novel in verse, which follows the progression of the seasons, she may have to leave her idyllic home, just like her namesake. As Eva plucks words from the world around her—'They are warm, / as though sprinkled / with all the spices of the sky'—her 'plant a forest, save a polar bear' father only sees the value of math, science and economics. Their rift grows wider when a blight starts the ripples of foreclosure. Eva begins to blame their mounting misfortunes on a blackened tree in the canyon known as the Demon Snag and the evil it must be emitting. Forming a fierce bond with the local Bead Woman, who’s encountered her own tough times, the resilient girl not only discovers a kindred artist, but the power of imagination, hope and even poetry to save her farm—and spirit. Calhoun doesn’t shy away from Eva’s reality, offering snapshots of the cycle of life, including a baby deer ripped from its mother’s womb. Although Eva’s poetry far surpasses most experienced poets, the effect leaves readers with splendid images to savor.
Fans of Karen Hesse will welcome this partner in poetry." --Kirkus Reviews
, May 15, 2012
"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."
–School Library Journal
Twelve-year-old Eva (Evangeline) loves her life on the family orchard in Washington State, loves her baby brother Achilles, and loves to write poetry. Indeed, writing poetry is Eva’s way of making sense of her world, as she writes about how much she misses her grandmother and her former best friend, Chloe, and how she worries that her family will lose their farm that, to her, is utterly magical. This last worry is not an idle one, as a events soon put Eva’s family in dire financial straits.
However, Eva’s poetry, a newfound adult friend, and Eva’s own strength bolster her through this difficult time, and although the story ends with the farm’s ownership still in limbo, there is a feeling of hope and possibility as well.... The potentially hopeful but ultimately unresolved ending is also refreshing, and kids who have also faced financial uncertainty may especially relate to Eva’s family’s plight.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books