Evelyn Dear Fender by Rodney Jones
Genre: Adventure Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full (232 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Orchid
Isn’t believing you have a chance, even when you don’t, better than knowing you don’t when you don’t?
Evelyn Hatfield sets out to be the first to reach the mythological land of Methania. But before her epic journey can begin, she must first suffer high school jealousies, the apathy of conformity, and a pair of clueless parents–all while learning to sail.
Through chance, and a few innocent manipulations and half-truths, Evelyn finally sets sail for the distant horizon where she and her stowaway monkey, Bobo, do battle with their most fearsome enemy, the weather… and lose. Shipwrecked on a tiny island, 4,000 miles from home, she meets Fender Spigot, an equally shipwrecked explorer from Methania who, having never heard a language other than his own, gibber-jabbers his way into her heart.
Regardless of their communication handicap, they manage to help each other escape the island–Evelyn, sailing east, and Fender, west–only to discover that absence makes the heart grow insufferably fonder. But how can they, again, find each other with such a monstrous ocean and a thousand misunderstandings between them?
Evelyn lives in Fraidland in the seaside town of Bartonville. In her last year at school Evelyn learns to sail with the aim of buying a boat and sailing to find Methania, the mystical land of legends. Those who have searched for Methania in the past have not returned, and they are presumed to have perished at sea.
After working hard for years and not spending any money on fripperies, Evelyn’s dream is about to come true when her Grandpa helps her to buy a boat. Will her dream of finding Methania, and being swept of her feet by a young handsome man from Methania also come true?
The basis of this story is well thought out and grips the attention. The idea of a teenage girl sailing solo across uncharted waters adds excitement to the storyline.
The ‘made up’ language I found very distracting. I can understand the author wished the land and people to appear different to the world as it is today, but there didn’t seem to be any continuity in the new language and toward the end of the book when a second language was introduced, it really spoiled the flow of the story. I believe I would have enjoyed this more if the vocabulary had been simpler and not so intrusive in the story.
I loved the fact that Evelyn learnt to sail and set off across the ocean and of course the meant the story had to include sailing terms, but these were part of the story and fitted in perfectly. A wonderful idea for a plot and a decent story.