Eventown

 
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Eventown
Age Range
8+
Release Date
February 12, 2019
ISBN
978-0062689801
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The world tilted for Elodee this year, and now it’s impossible for her to be the same as she was before. Not when her feelings have such a strong grip on her heart. Not when she and her twin sister, Naomi, seem to be drifting apart. So when Elodee’s mom gets a new job in Eventown, moving seems like it might just fix everything.

Indeed, life in Eventown is comforting and exciting all at once. Their kitchen comes with a box of recipes for Elodee to try. Everyone takes the scenic way to school or work—past rows of rosebushes and unexpected waterfalls. On blueberry-picking field trips, every berry is perfectly ripe.

Sure, there are a few odd rules, and the houses all look exactly alike, but it’s easy enough to explain—until Elodee realizes that there are only three ice cream flavors in Eventown. Ever. And they play only one song in music class.

Everything may be “even” in Eventown, but is there a price to pay for perfection—and pretending?

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Touching story of grief and love
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
When Elodee's world is shaken, she and her family, including her twin sister, Naomi, move to Eventown. At first, Eventown seems like everything they need. The weather is always nice. Elodee's baking is always perfect. Naomi's gymnastics are better than ever. But Eventown isn't exactly normal with its perfection. There are only 3 flavors of ice cream, only one song exists in the whole town, the houses all look the same, and all the books are filled with blank pages. Elodee feels more and more like a sore thumb as the rest of her family embraces Eventown. Elodee has to decide if she is willing to pay the cost of becoming a full Eventown person, even if it means giving up something she holds dear.

In Elodee's story, we first only know that something big and bad has happened, something that affected her whole family and caused their town to pity them. Eventown is a chance for a fresh start, or so everyone says. Anyone who has ever experienced tragedy will understand Elodee's uncertainty, her anger, and the knot of her thoughts. I love her journey in moving to Eventown and learning the different ways people respond to heavy emotions, ways that are both healthy and unhealthy. Ultimately, Elodee learns that when you have hard memories, you ultimately have to make a choice: to remember them, pain and all, because it's part of who you are, or to push them away and do your best to forget them, even if it means becoming less of yourself.

Corey Ann Haydu is a master at taking some of the hardest things that can happen in life and making it into a beautiful and highly accessible story. EVENTOWN is a book so clearly written for young readers, one that really presents the world in ways they can reference that is never condescending. The story is like the feeling you get when you've been given the warmest and kindest hug after a long period of feeling alone and sad; you're still sad, but there's a new comfort and a new hope to hold on to.
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Is it a Utopia or Dystopia?
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Elodee's family is struggling for reasons that aren't clear, and she and her twin sister Naomi are not getting along. When their mother gets a job in Eventown, no one really wants to move, but they do, digging up a rose bush from their old home and bringing it with them. Eventown has a lot of good opportunities and a lot of fun activities for the girls. Elodee loves to cook, and Naomi does gymnastics. When the girls go to the welcoming center for their orientation, they find out that Eventown was founded by Jasper Plimmswood for people whose homes were destroyed in a hurricane, and they needed to start over. The girls are invited into a room where they tell six stories of their lives, including the most embarrassing moment and the most heartbreaking one, and after they do, the stories are gone from their minds. Unfortunately, Elodee's session is interrupted, so she is halfway through the process and can remember just enough about her previous life to make her sad. Elodee starts to notive that the family's new perfect life is not so perfect, and that her new friends have gaping holes in their memories, even of important things like their grandparents. When Eventown starts to not be so perfect anymore, it's up to Elodee to come to terms with the reasons her family came to Eventown and to decide if horrible memories are worth having if it means she gets to hold onto the good ones as well.
Good Points
Eventown is an interesting setting, and Elodee's mother's new job is a convincing reason for the family to move. The physical layout, the beauty of the houses, and the perfect weather all make for an idyllic new home for a fractured family. The reason why the family is in pain is not revealed until the very ending of the book, and I don't want to spoil it other than to say that there should perhaps be trigger warnings.

While most of the characters are fairly flat, because they have given up their memories, Elodee is inquisitive and engaged, trying to settle into her new surroundings and make things better for her family in their new home while trying to navigate the waters with different equipment than the other residents have. Readers who want to embrace sad stories rather than forget them will sympathize with Elodee's quest for truth, even if it is painful for her.
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