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Only Eva by Judi Curtin

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Children's Book of the Month

Only Eva by Judi Curtin
Published by O’Brien Press, 2015

Only Eva is the latest great book from the author of the best-selling 'Eva' and 'Alice & Megan' series by one of Ireland’s most popular writers for children.

When new girl at school, Aretta from Nigeria, hurries home unusually quickly each day Eva's determined to find out why. Curious almost to a fault, Eva and her friend Ella follow Aretta one day to discover she lives in a very isolated place that is for asylum seekers. This is something Aretta wants no-one to know.

Ella's Granny has moved to a nursing home, where she hates the regime. She misses her friends and her beloved dog. Not only do Eva and Ella find a way to sneak in to the nursing home at night to cheer her up but they even smuggle in a puppy too. Other residents join the fun and in the end the nursing home rules and regulations begin to change. When Eva finds that some things are too big and complicated for her on her own she has a talent for bringing people together, and together people can do almost anything!

The story also connects Aretta’s gardener Dad who is heartbroken at leaving his ill wife behind in Nigeria, with a friend of Ella’s mum who is in a wheelchair and cannot maintain her home and garden. Aretta’s Dad helps out by doing what he loves best and begins to smile again, something she has witnessed in the nine years they’ve been in Ireland.

Serious threads underlie the story that on the surface is funny, full of action and introduces young readers to credible well-rounded characters. Only Eva deals with the themes of lonliness among the elderly, direct provision centres and the children who live in them in Ireland.

Judi Curtin has a unique gift for hooking young readers with her stories that are contemporary, cool and eagerly awaited by her fans, while at the same time dealing with the sometimes weighty experiences that are part of every child’s life.

Only Eva is Book 5 in the series but each title can be read independently