Delacorte Press/Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group: NY, 1988.
Oiginally publ by Victor Gollancz Ltd: Great Britain, 1988.
Eva's body died in an accident. Her neuron memories have been transferred to a chimpanzee's body (from the research Pool of chimps with which her father works). Eva is primarily about how she adapts in the chimp's body. Because most people would have difficulty seeing her as a human, she gradually becomes more chimpanzee than human.
The story takes place at an unnamed time in the future when the human population has destroyed almost all natural habitat. The chimpanzees are one of the few animals left in the world and only that because they are useful for research. Living among the chimps, Eva begins to understand their point of view regarding research and captivity, and uses her celebrity status, as the only human/chimp, to find a natural habitat where she and a select few of the Reserve chimps can live.
Eva was written before YA literature became popular. It was written for that age level, is easy to read, but has more depth than the average YA book. Many themes are packed into this short story, such as what it is to be human, animal rights vs ownership, corporate exploitation, overzealous media, and survival and evolution of a species. The issues arise naturally with the progress Eva makes in adapting to her new life.
I've only read a few of Dickinson's many books. In looking for more, I had read that Eva is one of the most acclaimed. I knew nothing about the book, but now I'd have to say I like it the best so far of what I've read. It has a depressing background mood: the overpopulation, media and corporate behavior, and her parents are not stellar characters. Her mother has difficulty accepting her daughter as a chimp, and her father sees her more of an experiment than a daughter. But Eva's character is great. Her decisions make sense, and I had no trouble empathizing with her plight. While it may not have been the best idea to do the neuron transfer to begin with, Eva makes the best of the situation.
This book touches on similar issues as Crichton's Next and Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but Eva was written well before either of them. All three are fantastic books and explore their issues well.
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