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?
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.
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.