Eventown
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?

Eventown Details

TitleEventown
Author
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherHC/Katherine Tegen Books
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction, Juvenile, Young Adult

Eventown Review

  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    Every year various dictionaries and encyclopedias try to determine what the Word of the Year is, and every year they make some pretty good choices. Here’s one that I don’t think they’ve done yet, but that’s been on a lot of minds anyway: Discomfort. There’s been a lot of talk about it lately, particularly in terms of the value of uncomfortable/valuable conversations. I am, personally, a person who tends to avoid discomfort at all costs, and my privilege is that I can too often do so. Only becaus Every year various dictionaries and encyclopedias try to determine what the Word of the Year is, and every year they make some pretty good choices. Here’s one that I don’t think they’ve done yet, but that’s been on a lot of minds anyway: Discomfort. There’s been a lot of talk about it lately, particularly in terms of the value of uncomfortable/valuable conversations. I am, personally, a person who tends to avoid discomfort at all costs, and my privilege is that I can too often do so. Only because I live in this age and this era of America can I see where avoiding the messiness of living in this world is potentially dangerous, not to mention irresponsible. So, to the year 2019, I hand this middle grade novel. In Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu, you’ll find a marvelous defense of messiness, mistakes, and uncomfortable conversations. We all want to run away from our problems, but it’s like that old phrase says: Be careful what you wish for. It happened in the past. It hurt. Now Elodee’s family is in pain. Her father, her mother, her twin sister Naomi, and Elodee herself all feel burdened by something that they can’t even talk about anymore. So when Elodee and Naomi’s mom gets a job working for the village of Eventown, they simply cannot believe their luck. Eventown’s the kind of place where you can get a fresh start. It’s where the neighbors all get together to make you a recipe box of delicious things you couldn’t burn or ruin if you tried. Where the kids in school never tease you. Where the sunsets are miraculous and the stars, if it’s at all possible, shine brighter than anywhere you’ve ever been. At first Elodee is swept up in the joy of living in such a place, but as time goes on she begins to see oddities. Why does her yard have weeds when no one else’s does? Why do the other kids act so aghast when she tries a different s’mores recipe? And why, oh why, can’t Elodee just give in to the place and be happy here? It takes a lot to live in Eventown, so what Elodee needs to determine is whether or not it’s worth it in the end. Childhood utopias automatically come outfitted with built-in weirdness. It’s part of the deal. Hogwarts had a snake in the basement. Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory had a peculiar tendency to knock off small visitors. You get the drift. These locations have a natural fantasy component that taps into a child’s ultimate desire (magic, chocolate, etc.). Less common is the idea of a perfect town. Even so, it’s there. When I was a kid I’d write short stories about a little town where I could make up all the families and characters. There was a comfort to it. Think of what Harriet M. Welch is doing in at the beginning of Harriet the Spy. And I think Haydu’s being very clever with this book because what’s truly fearful about Eventown is its seductiveness. Remember that line in the musical Into the Woods that Little Red Riding Hood sings about the wolf? “Nice is different than good.” Going to Eventown is like a crash course in nice vs. good. And the problem with nice, as a whole bunch of us know, is that it can be weaponized in the fight against truth. Reading the book I was intrigued by how the creepy elements of the tale sneak in at a glacial rate. So much so that I found myself silently chanting, “Come on other shoe … drop, man, drop. Drop, man, drop!” Drop it does, but in slow motion. Need a novel for 9-12 year olds that epitomizes the very definition of “foreshadowing”? Meet my little friend here. It knows that some of the most effective horror comes from the people we love the most. Elodee’s whole family has drunk the Eventown Kool-Aid without so much as a blink, but she doesn’t see that for a long time. Instead, she has to encounter what I consider one of the most frightening concepts of all time. Loving, patient kindness combined with insane actions, resulting in the kind of villainy I’ve never really seen in a children’s book before. The adults in this town aren’t passive aggressive so much as they’re completely dedicated to horrible inanities. Let’s put it this way: You can’t help but like a book where the foreshadowing centers around a town’s lack of library. Or, even better, the horror of what it becomes. Honestly, not since The Great Gatsby has a library been as much of a lie as the one found here. What happens to the town library will strike many kids as an unspeakable crime. It’s a very clever means of turning kids against the notion of comfort and stability at any cost.As I read, I kept finding natural connections to this book. Certainly in terms of cinema this book is pure Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Pleasantville. In terms of children’s books the tie-in is Orphan Island (more on that later). I was even reminded of that moment in A Wrinkle in Time where Meg confronts It and must parse the difference between equal and the same. But when I really sat down and thought about it, the best equivalent to this, in a lot of ways, is Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World. It might as well be Elodee saying “I'd rather be myself . . . Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.” Or, “If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.” And, ultimately, the perfect quote for it all: “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.” Huxley said it first, but it’s nice to have something on a younger level for the kids. Eventown is the perfect gateway drug for “Brave New World” later on. I mean, this might be an out there idea, but is it possible that this book is a metaphor for what it feels like to have depression? Elodee is constantly having to defend herself against the accusation of not trying to be happy. Her sister says, “You’re making something easy so hard.” Here’s how Elodee thinks of it instead, “There’s a grip in my heart, and Naomi’s right here but she feels a million miles away, on a whole other planet, and she gets to be there with Mom and Dad and I’m stuck here, on my weird little planet all alone. I want to explain all of that to her, but every time I try to explain what is making me feel unsettled or weird, all I do is get further and further away.” When her sister tries to cheer her up (with guilt, which in my experience always works so very very well) it says, “… I try to make Naomi grinning at me enough to make me grin too. I am trying so, so hard.” All throughout the book Elodee has to deal with a world where she feels like she’s the only one who has to try this hard. It’s a deeply lonely experience, and I couldn’t help but think of people with depression who have to deal with concerned friends and family members who say unhelpful things like, “Why don’t you just get over yourself?” and “Why don’t you want to be happy?” Like Elodee says, they try so, so hard, but often that’s not the issue. The real issue is deep and buried. In the case of this book, literally so. Again, the book that I kept thinking about the most as I read this was Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. In both cases you have a mysterious location, otherworldly occurrences, and a girl on the cusp of teenagerhood with whom the world does not sit well. Both live in kinds of utopias. There the similarities stop, though. In Orphan Island things start to go wrong because the heroine questions the way things are, and that’s a bad thing. In Eventown things start to go wrong because the heroine questions the way things are, and that’s a good thing. In both books she dares to question the world. In only one book does that choice go well. Why do these books ring oddly true with kids? Because in the real world, adults withhold pertinent information from their children all the time. This is not necessarily a bad thing since there are many things in this world that kids just aren’t ready to know. I guess the root of it is, to a certain extent, intent. Are you keeping kids in the dark because it protects them or because it protects you?I wouldn’t think of this, any of this if it weren’t for Haydu putting it all together so well. There’s a patience to her writing. She must have had so much fun thinking up exactly how much fun to make Eventown. The different flavors of ice cream, the delicious green strawberries, the waterfalls, the gigantic blueberries, the butterfly house, the copper cooking equipment, all of it. Her book burns slow, but once things start getting weird it speeds up considerably, like weeds spreading in the night. I liked a lot of how she chose to phrase things, like when Elodee thinks of herself as, “…a tiny, cozy, ball of limbs.” Or when the dad says, “Love has a lot to do with imperfections,” which may as well be the theme of the book itself. The only part of the book that didn’t quite gel with me came at the end. I liked where the book went, but (and this is a funny thing to say) it felt too tidy. Not messy enough. There was satisfaction there, but I think it needed just a hair more of a conclusion. There’s a big discovery, words are said, words are listened to, and then we’re outta here!! The mom, especially, does a turnaround that didn’t feel real to me. I needed a little more thought there. Kids would probably not agree.Years ago there was an episode of the Radiolab podcast about a moment in history when a scientist truly believed he might have found a way to remove select memories from people’s brains. The scientist was then flooded with desperate requests from people around the world. These people were begging him to remove the pain of the past from their brains. This connects, for me, to the moment in this book when it starts to rain. When that happens, some of the neighbors go out of their way to express pure fury at Elodee’s family. It’s very much a case of them essentially saying, “Your discomfort is reminding me of my discomfort.” We want so very much to find ourselves a blank slate of some sort. No bad past, no fearful future. And kids, the age of the readers of this book, already have a sense of this. Some of this book’s readers will have encountered fearful, horrible, terrible things in their pasts. Some of them will encounter these things in their futures. And a bunch of them will look at Eventown, even with all its flaws, and want to go there in the same way that kids have wanted to go to Hogwarts for years. There is no Eventown. Not even Eventown is Eventown. I won’t tell you that’s good or bad. You’re just going to have to read this book and decide for yourself.For ages 9-12.
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not a huge elementary reader, but I absolutely LOVED Corey Haydu's EVENTOWN. It starts as a typical upper elementary read, so its hidden depths prove all the more profound. Tragedy devastates our main character Elodee’s family, so when Elodee’s mom gets a new job; moving seems like it’ll fix everything. Welcome to Eventown. A place where all the houses look the same, the air always smells like roses, and blueberries grow year round. Where everything seems like the perfect summer day. At lea I'm not a huge elementary reader, but I absolutely LOVED Corey Haydu's EVENTOWN. It starts as a typical upper elementary read, so its hidden depths prove all the more profound. Tragedy devastates our main character Elodee’s family, so when Elodee’s mom gets a new job; moving seems like it’ll fix everything. Welcome to Eventown. A place where all the houses look the same, the air always smells like roses, and blueberries grow year round. Where everything seems like the perfect summer day. At least on the surface. A dark secret lurks beneath the vine-covered homes. Every person who moves to Eventown has a session at the “Welcoming Center.” After telling your stories—including the scariest & most embarrassing--your memories are locked away. Never to be recalled. But would you sacrifice your memories if it meant you could forget the most painful parts of your life? What’s the price for perfection? From the description, you can tell EVENTOWN is basically a junior Stepford Wives. On steroids. The beginning is a little choppy, but as Elodee's family enters EVENTOWN the story quickly picks up pace. Like Stepford or its many counterparts, Elodee is initially infatuated by the town's seeming perfection. But soon she notices something amiss beneath EVENTOWN's impeccable exterior. Why are there only three flavors of ice cream? Why is the library entirely filled with blank books? As with most elementary books, the writing is simple. However the plot isn't. The unnamed tragedy isn't revealed until the very end and lemme tell you, it'll leave you SOBBING. Seriously, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is child's play compared to EVENTOWN. Even writing this review makes me a little teary. As a side-plot Elodee and her twin sister, Naomi, growing apart is nicely explored. Their differing attitudes toward Eventown is a great metaphor for their developing separation. As you come-of-age, you may be different from your twin (or friends) and that's okay. Summary: A must-read
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  • Chance Lee
    January 1, 1970
    With a blurb from Rebecca Stead, Eventown was a highly anticipated book for me. However, I found it too slow-paced for its climax, which hinges on a reveal of information that is only hidden because of narrative manipulation. Eventown is narrated by Elodee, a sixth-grader who bakes cookies for people based on their personalities. She has a twin sister, Naomi, who likes gymnastics so much she does cartwheels almost as much as she walks. They have a dad who likes to garden and a mom who... not qui With a blurb from Rebecca Stead, Eventown was a highly anticipated book for me. However, I found it too slow-paced for its climax, which hinges on a reveal of information that is only hidden because of narrative manipulation. Eventown is narrated by Elodee, a sixth-grader who bakes cookies for people based on their personalities. She has a twin sister, Naomi, who likes gymnastics so much she does cartwheels almost as much as she walks. They have a dad who likes to garden and a mom who... not quite sure what she does. The family is leaving their town of Juniper because of some sort of unspoken trauma. Elodee, the narrator, knows what happened to her family, she just decides not to tell the reader about it. The family decides to move to Eventown, a homogenous community that I wanted to be more Eerie, Indiana but is really more like Pleasantville but boring. Everyone is happy in Eventown, and you know that because every single chapter for half the books ends with how perfect Eventown is. Almost halfway through, the girls are "welcomed" in a ceremony that's part The Giver but mostly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Elodee then forgets the unspoken family trauma. With the trauma going unspoken (view spoiler)[the family's transplanted rosebush takes over the town (hide spoiler)] and finally, the trauma is revealed. It's exactly what you think it is. Then there's cake. The end. Haydu has a gift for vivid descriptions, and I did appreciate Elodee as a character with anger-management issues, but I didn't feel there was enough meaty content in this book to sustain it for 300+ pages when I could read only the first and last sentence of each chapter and understand exactly what was going on. Also, my copy of the book has a huge typo in which Chapter 2 is titled "The Only Pretty Thing in Jupiter" but the town is called Juniper making me think my dyslexia flared up.
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  • Kate Willis
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book for its intriguing cover and review by Rebecca Stead.Its truth about family and sisters and sorrow, and its truth about family and sisters growing apart because of sorrow. (Dad’s sighs were particularly accurate.)Its portrayal of an easy world perfect for a fresh start. Baking and blueberries and ice cream and s’mores and faded freckles and a rose but that would not be tamed.A slow reveal of what the tragedy was and how the eerily idyllic Eventown worked.(view spoiler)[The stori I love this book for its intriguing cover and review by Rebecca Stead.Its truth about family and sisters and sorrow, and its truth about family and sisters growing apart because of sorrow. (Dad’s sighs were particularly accurate.)Its portrayal of an easy world perfect for a fresh start. Baking and blueberries and ice cream and s’mores and faded freckles and a rose but that would not be tamed.A slow reveal of what the tragedy was and how the eerily idyllic Eventown worked.(view spoiler)[The stories of our lives--good, bad, and ugly--overlapping and smashing together and being vital to who were are. (hide spoiler)]Sparks.(view spoiler)[Reminding those we love who they are and where they come from. (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[Choosing how to live with what you know. (hide spoiler)]Just a note, there was one blasphemy and mentions of hard things including (view spoiler)[divorce, suicide, and racism. (hide spoiler)] Also, one side character has lesbian parents who figure highly into the last quarter of the book.Altogether, this was a surprisingly profound (but slightly problematic) read. If you need me, I’ll be out in the rain eating olive-oil jasmine cake with white chocolate pear frosting. <3
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  • Mandy Stallard
    January 1, 1970
    I am a huge fan of The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu, so I was thrilled that she shared an ARC of her newest book, Eventown, with #BookPosse. This middle-grade novel will publish in February 2019, so you will have to wait a while to get your hands on it, but I promise it will be worth the wait. We meet twin sisters, Elodee and Naomi, on their last day in their hometown of Juniper. Things have been difficult for their family for a while; something terrible happened, and now they are sad all I am a huge fan of The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu, so I was thrilled that she shared an ARC of her newest book, Eventown, with #BookPosse. This middle-grade novel will publish in February 2019, so you will have to wait a while to get your hands on it, but I promise it will be worth the wait. We meet twin sisters, Elodee and Naomi, on their last day in their hometown of Juniper. Things have been difficult for their family for a while; something terrible happened, and now they are sad all the time. Their parents decide to move the family, and they pick a small, idyllic place called Eventown. Everything seems perfect in Eventown; the food Elodee cooks tastes better than it ever has before; her father's rosebush from Juniper flourishes; her mom is finally happy, and shy Naomie feels right at home. Unfortunately, Elodee is having more trouble assimilating. A visit to the Eventown Welcoming Center is guaranteed to help Elodee fit in with everyone else. Unfortunately, her visit is cut short, and after that day, things start to go a little haywire in Eventown. Elodee starts questioning Eventown's perfection. The beautiful library is full of books with blank pages. The delicious ice cream shop only has three different flavors. There is only one song in all of Eventown. How can a place be perfect when everything and everyone is the same? I must admit that I was a bit frustrated with this book when I was a 100 pages in and still had no idea what awful thing had happened to Elodee's family. We know that it was something sad that upended the family's lives, but we have no clue what happened to make them feel the need for a fresh start. I was desperate to know what trauma they were trying to escape, and I was getting angry that it seemed like I was never going to find out. I was just being too impatient because we finally learn about their tragic past in the most perfect way. This book would not have been as powerful if Haydu had chosen to reveal their loss at the beginning or even middle of the book. By waiting until the end of the book, we feel the family's loss even more. Haydu's newest novel shows readers that "love is messy," but that messy can be beautiful and necessary. Our emotions are not isolated; we can be happy and sad at the same time. Sometimes we need to revisit events from our past, even if they are sad, to appreciate what we have in the present. This novel presents valuable life lessons (the importance of remembering the past and appreciating differences) in a very accessible way for middle-grade students. Eventown is a must-add to classroom and school libraries.
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  • Misti
    January 1, 1970
    If you could escape grief by giving up your memories, would you? Something terrible happened to Elodee’s family, and now her parents have decided to move to Eventown for a fresh start. Elodee and her twin sister Naomi are initially excited about the things they remember from a visit a few years ago: the amazing ice cream shop, the beautiful views at the end of a hike, the way the air always smelled like roses. But while Naomi is eager to embrace the perfection and blend in to life in Eventown, E If you could escape grief by giving up your memories, would you? Something terrible happened to Elodee’s family, and now her parents have decided to move to Eventown for a fresh start. Elodee and her twin sister Naomi are initially excited about the things they remember from a visit a few years ago: the amazing ice cream shop, the beautiful views at the end of a hike, the way the air always smelled like roses. But while Naomi is eager to embrace the perfection and blend in to life in Eventown, Elodee misses her creative, imperfect way of doing things. In Eventown, she can use the recipes she was given to cook perfect meals every time, but she’d rather try her own wild flavor combinations, even if they don’t always turn out the way she wants. And she would rather remember the things Eventown wants her to forget, even if the memories sometimes hurt.I thought the premise here was interesting, but it feels to me like the author belabors the point. For a relatively short book, it dragged at times, and the narration rambled. I got sidetracked by details: a rose bush is described as blooming in March, in a place where Elodee mentions the need for down coats? (In Eventown the roses apparently always bloom, but this rose bush was blooming in their old town.) Elodee’s cooking skills are pretty advanced, but otherwise she and the other kids seem young for their age. Also, considering that one of the main messages of the book is about embracing discomfort and the messiness of life, I thought the ending was a little too neat. All in all, this didn’t entirely work for me, but it’s gotten great reviews and a lot of people love it. If you enjoy juvenile fiction with magical realism, and don’t mind concept trumping plot, you might like this better than I did.
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  • Leonard Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I am not sure the metaphor works—that wanting to forget can be equated with social conformance. Camazotz and Orphan Island and the Community in The Giver are similar setups and yet all “meant” different things, so I guess that’s a quibble too—the distinctive American attitude that individualism is prized over societal peace and welfare can be exploited in just about any kind of book like this, but this indiscriminateness makes the resulting world-building feel inconsistent. Still overall this wa I am not sure the metaphor works—that wanting to forget can be equated with social conformance. Camazotz and Orphan Island and the Community in The Giver are similar setups and yet all “meant” different things, so I guess that’s a quibble too—the distinctive American attitude that individualism is prized over societal peace and welfare can be exploited in just about any kind of book like this, but this indiscriminateness makes the resulting world-building feel inconsistent. Still overall this was readable and felt. Some odd errors: the 2nd chapter title is “The Only Pretty Thing in Jupiter” not Juniper. And chapter 8 says the girls are in 6th grade but in chapter 11, their class is 5th grade.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so magical and beautiful and sad. But it was also full of hope. I loved it.
  • Abbey
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished Eventown by Corey Anne Haydu.Wow. That one took it out of me. I spent the last 50+ pages either teary-eyed, sniffling, or full-on sobbing. Haydu goes deep into real-life, life-shattering issues that so many other Middle Grade authors tend to gloss over. I applaud it. How else will we give tweens & very early teens the permission to not only feel these emotions, but to know that those emotions mean something and are just as important as "adult" feelings during the same life uphe Just finished Eventown by Corey Anne Haydu.Wow. That one took it out of me. I spent the last 50+ pages either teary-eyed, sniffling, or full-on sobbing. Haydu goes deep into real-life, life-shattering issues that so many other Middle Grade authors tend to gloss over. I applaud it. How else will we give tweens & very early teens the permission to not only feel these emotions, but to know that those emotions mean something and are just as important as "adult" feelings during the same life upheaval?I will say, it took a little bit of time to get into at the very beginning, but once I did, I was hooked.Eventown in the story of Elodee, her identical twin sister, Naomi, and their parents moving to a new town to "start fresh" after a family tragedy. This new town, the book's namesake, seems like an absolutely perfect place to start anew for the family. Naomi and their parents seem to love fitting in with the new town, but Elodee starts to wonder if "perfect" is what she wants out of life. I changed my mind several times while I read as to how to identify this book... Initially, it felt like a typical MG coming-of-age story, but a chapter or two later and I was transported into an episode of The Twilight Zone. (The Roses! The Welcome Center! The Library! *shakes fist angrily at the sky*) Then, at the end, the two came together for a powerful finish. Now, as someone still dealing with a recent personal tragedy, this one hit a little too close to home. I may have felt a little too connected to the end, which is why I reacted so emotionally. However, it is still compelling and touching. I give Eventown a solid 4.5 and highly recommend it for tweens to adults.
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  • LauraW
    January 1, 1970
    I found this a bit heavy-handed with the forgetting thing - alluded to too many times. But that was the point, so I guess it was necessary. I am not sure why I ended up reading two identical-twin books one after the other (The Lost Girl), but I did. This one, I could actually tell the two girls apart, but the differences almost seemed exaggerated. OK, but I am not sure it would appeal to that many kids. I think the most interesting person in the book was actually the MC's friend's mother.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    Haydu, Corey Ann. EventownFebruary 12th 2019 by HC/Katherine Tegen BooksCopy provided by Young Adult Books CentralElodee'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 Naom Haydu, Corey Ann. EventownFebruary 12th 2019 by HC/Katherine Tegen BooksCopy provided by Young Adult Books CentralElodee'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. 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. Personally, I disagree with the entire premise of this novel. There is nothing wrong with forgetting sad things, if one were even able to do so in the real world, and I don't think it is fair to portray the vast majority of families dealing with grief in middle grade novels as fractured and unable to go on. That's just insulting. People go on because there is no other option. As I explained in my post on Jason Reynold's The Boy in the Black Suit, my truth is that unpleasant things are best forgotten. It's not everyone's truth, but it is mine, and this book was at odds with my truth. Everyone else seems to think it is fantastic, so read some other reviews as well before making up your mind about it.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Literary fiction for the middle-grade set! This book surprised and delighted me. The central metaphor is powerful and the main character's journey was very compelling. This book is marketed towards ages 8-12 but I think it would also connect well with high school aged readers who could appreciate the ethical dilemma that underlies this book - how far would you go to erase your traumatic memories?
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    A stunning, perfect book. Five well deserved, tear stained stars. I can’t say too much without spoiling its secrets but you should know that it will definitely make you remember all of the things you’ve experienced/experience in life both wonderful and traumatic. So trigger warnings for that. #bookstagram
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  • Monica Edinger
    January 1, 1970
    My New York Times' review here.
  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    I love to be shocked by middle grade. Good shock, bad shock, I don't really care because the entire genre has just gotten too cookie-cutter for me. Eventown definitely breaks that mold without becoming a book that middle graders won't recognize. As an adult, I think I read it as more creepy than was intended. Kids might just find it fascinating that Eventown is a place where everybody is happy all the time, and it never rains, and no one remembers sad memories from Before. It's a book about figh I love to be shocked by middle grade. Good shock, bad shock, I don't really care because the entire genre has just gotten too cookie-cutter for me. Eventown definitely breaks that mold without becoming a book that middle graders won't recognize. As an adult, I think I read it as more creepy than was intended. Kids might just find it fascinating that Eventown is a place where everybody is happy all the time, and it never rains, and no one remembers sad memories from Before. It's a book about fighting not to lose your voice in the crowd, about the dangers of complacency, about listening to children when they have something to say.There is a dark twist at the end which I don't think was completely necessary because it definitely gears the book towards the older-age middle graders when it could have worked across a wider range of ages. I would love to hand-sell this book, but I think a bookseller would have to be careful with wording when trying to sell it to parents.
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  • Shella
    January 1, 1970
    I really was intrigued and enjoyed this book- refreshingly different. It's story is very different from The a Giver- but has the same theme. Is it worth having a bland boring life to ensure you have no hurt, struggle and heartache? For much of the book- the reader does not know what the heartache is for the protagonist's family. I liked the long lead up to this revelation and did not mind its slow pace. If you enjoy character development and plots that are more character driven- you may enjoy th I really was intrigued and enjoyed this book- refreshingly different. It's story is very different from The a Giver- but has the same theme. Is it worth having a bland boring life to ensure you have no hurt, struggle and heartache? For much of the book- the reader does not know what the heartache is for the protagonist's family. I liked the long lead up to this revelation and did not mind its slow pace. If you enjoy character development and plots that are more character driven- you may enjoy the book. Readers that don't don't enjoy layered characters may not stick with this book. I loved the symbolism of the rosebush and how love is described on page 309. My favorite quote is:"An ache is just an ache: something that settles into your heart and reminds you that love is there even if the person you love isn't." I just wanted to hug this whole family at the end of this story. Highly recommend- don't abandon the book and read it with another person.
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  • Josephine
    January 1, 1970
    Elodee and Naomi are twins and the two embrace their twinness. Living in the quiet little town of Juniper not everything is perfect. When Elodee’s mom gets a new job in Eventown, moving seems like it might fix everything. It’s weird because everything they take with them fits in a small van. It’s like they are starting over in Eventown. Life in Eventown is comforting and exciting all at once. Their kitchen comes with a box of recipes. Everyone takes the scenic way to school or work walking nit d Elodee and Naomi are twins and the two embrace their twinness. Living in the quiet little town of Juniper not everything is perfect. When Elodee’s mom gets a new job in Eventown, moving seems like it might fix everything. It’s weird because everything they take with them fits in a small van. It’s like they are starting over in Eventown. Life in Eventown is comforting and exciting all at once. Their kitchen comes with a box of recipes. Everyone takes the scenic way to school or work walking nit driving because there are no vehicles in eventown. The waterfalls and perfect rose bushes they pass are lovely. Sure, there are a few odd rules, and the houses all look exactly alike, but is that really odd? Maybe not, but learning, singing and playing only the same song everyday is weird. And why are there only three ice cream flavors in Eventown. Now Naomi seems to want Betsy to be her new twin. Why doesn’t it ever rain. Everything may be “even” in Eventown, but is there a price to pay for perfection, and pretending there is no bad events I. The world. To me the book was very slow and almost preachy. It was a bit of a different book concept and I liked that. I was glad I finished it and glad when it was finished.
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  • Sandy Brehl
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes on the mammoth task of engaging younger readers with empathetic and complex characters while juggling topics involving grief, isolation, loneliness, and the struggles and costs of feel "happy". There are parallels to Lois Lowry's THE GIVER, but this feels less mythical and more accessible to younger readers.
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  • B
    January 1, 1970
    You know there is something weird in the story, but not sure what. As a reader you know that the town is weird and that the family is moving away from something. Good story. I can see this showing up on awards lists.
  • Sarah Wyatt
    January 1, 1970
    This book was SO good and SO sad!
  • Ericka
    January 1, 1970
    BEAUTIFUL BOOK! I could not put it down.
  • Kirsten
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, my heart! What an amazing, touching book!
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars for Eventown. One of the themes of Eventown is that life is messy. Well, so are my feelings about this book. There are a variety of situations in this book that could lead to some important discussions, which is great. However, I am not sure all of my fifth grade students are ready for some of the content. The story was definitely interesting and kept me wanting to know more, but I think the reasons for that were very subtle. I am unsure whether middle grade readers would find the subt 3.5 stars for Eventown. One of the themes of Eventown is that life is messy. Well, so are my feelings about this book. There are a variety of situations in this book that could lead to some important discussions, which is great. However, I am not sure all of my fifth grade students are ready for some of the content. The story was definitely interesting and kept me wanting to know more, but I think the reasons for that were very subtle. I am unsure whether middle grade readers would find the subtle beginning interesting. I think the atmosphere might be lost on them. It wasn't until page 140 that the plot started moving. There was a big reveal at the end, but I guessed the gist of it right away. I enjoyed the themes spelled out at the end. However, there was a part of me that felt the ending was too lengthy and overt. I saw several reviews that mentioned crying, but I didn't feel much while reading this because the characters were so flat. (The characters had a good reason for being flat, so that is not a criticism.) I feel like this would have had more impact if it were 100 pages shorter. I know this review seems pretty negative, but I really think this story will stay with me.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    Eventown seems like the perfect place to live until you take a closer look. Many of the components were eerie reminders of books like "The Giver." They sing the same song in music class every time; all the gymnasts do the very same routine flawlessly, the recipes provided in their kitchen turn out deliciously perfect meals every time; all the beautifully bound library books are blank, and so on. The most chilling aspect, though, has to be the Welcome Center where each new citizen goes to tell th Eventown seems like the perfect place to live until you take a closer look. Many of the components were eerie reminders of books like "The Giver." They sing the same song in music class every time; all the gymnasts do the very same routine flawlessly, the recipes provided in their kitchen turn out deliciously perfect meals every time; all the beautifully bound library books are blank, and so on. The most chilling aspect, though, has to be the Welcome Center where each new citizen goes to tell their stories and leave them behind forever. However, like one of Elodee's failed attempts at the jasmine olive oil cake, this story had an ingredient missing for me. The visit to the Welcome Center could have been used more strategically to build suspense while delivering a hint of what made the Lively family move to Eventown. Why does Elodee's three held onto stories cause such a huge influx of weeds? What happened when Veena's family rebelled in their own way and wore their story charms? There seemed to be no ramifications before Elodee's family arrived. I also felt like Elodee's attempt to retrieve memories was clunky. Not one of my favorite reads this year.
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  • Kari
    January 1, 1970
    “Love has a lot to do with imperfections.” It was interesting to read this just after reading Coyote Sunrise - I don’t want to say too much but they both deal with escaping grief in different ways. This one was much stronger to me. It reminded me a bit of City of Ember (in a good way) and of course there were aspects of The Giver. I liked the wrong feeling of the new town although I think I would have liked it to be just a little bit creepier. Maybe a tiny bit more like Camazotz. Anyway, this wa “Love has a lot to do with imperfections.” It was interesting to read this just after reading Coyote Sunrise - I don’t want to say too much but they both deal with escaping grief in different ways. This one was much stronger to me. It reminded me a bit of City of Ember (in a good way) and of course there were aspects of The Giver. I liked the wrong feeling of the new town although I think I would have liked it to be just a little bit creepier. Maybe a tiny bit more like Camazotz. Anyway, this was great.
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richie’s Picks: EVENTOWN by Corey Ann Haydu, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, February 2019, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-268980-1"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!"-- the late sports broadcaster Jim McKay “When you get a little tiredAnd you can’t find a place to restAnd what used to come so easyIs now some kind of testJust remember There’s no substitute fo Richie’s Picks: EVENTOWN by Corey Ann Haydu, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, February 2019, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-268980-1"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!"-- the late sports broadcaster Jim McKay “When you get a little tiredAnd you can’t find a place to restAnd what used to come so easyIs now some kind of testJust remember There’s no substitute for lifeYou wouldn’t even know you were livingIf it weren’t for all this pain and strife”-- Ben Sidran, “On the Cool Side” (1985)“It didn’t feel good, shoving Jenny. It didn’t feel good calling Jon the bad word, either. It felt inevitable, though.Sometimes I think feelings are bigger than people. More powerful. They make people do things that can’t be undone. I used to think feelings were part of a person, but lately I’ve been thinking they are separate beings, that they come like aliens and invade people’s bodies and cause destruction.Naomi didn’t agree or disagree when I told her my theory. But I heard her sniffling in the top bunk later that night, and I thought, Yep, there’s an alien, taking over Naomi’s body for the night. What a jerk.After shoving Jenny, I sit in the principal’s office and make fists with my hands and keep all my muscles very, very tense. Sometimes I hang my head and take deep breaths, but I don’t cry and I don’t yell and I definitely don’t shove anyone else.The principal doesn’t get mad at me. She doesn’t punish me since it’s my last day of school anyway.”Something terrible befell the Lively family. Now, twelve year-old twins Elodee and Naomi are leaving their school in Juniper because their parents are moving them to Eventown, a place where everything is perfect and everyone is content. There, they might be able to get over what happened.Eventown is a place of serenity and calmness. There is no thrill of victory; no agony of defeat. It’s like they all live in a lukewarm pot of soup. That‘s because all new arrivals to Eventown are purged of their stories. The result is that everyone there is friendly. The sun is always shining; there are no cars; the cookbook recipes all turn out perfectly; there is only one song available to be sung; and the library books have also been purged of their stories. It seems that everyone in Eventown is kept safe from emotions and memories. They all seem happy. Until Elodee and Naomi’s family arrives.Page by page, we come to see that there are little cracks in this perfect town. And Elodee will be the one who causes those cracks to deepen to the point that, just maybe, the town can no longer maintain its seemingly perfect state. There are many things about our lives that we typically take for granted. Like breathing. Whether in the moment, or when recalling the past, we’re usually focused on the challenges in our personal lives, our studies, our relationships, and our careers. Dealing with challenges in life creates our vivid memories and differentiates us from a hillside of grazing bovines.EVENTOWN peels back the wallpaper and reveals how a degree of pain and strife makes life worth living and fighting for. Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • Rosita Alfieri
    January 1, 1970
    Un anno fa, il mondo di Elodee e della sua famiglia è stato sconvolto. La ripresa è difficile ed è per questo che i suoi genitori decidono di sdradicare tutta la famiglia e trasferirsi del paradisiaco villaggio di Eventown. E tutto a Eventown è perfetto. Dal tempo sempre bello, alla ricette culinarie che risultano sempre buonissime. Elodee è felice del cambiamento, sopratutto perchè le cose nella sua famiglia cominciano a tornare apposto. Ma più il tempo passa più si rende conto che le cose a Ev Un anno fa, il mondo di Elodee e della sua famiglia è stato sconvolto. La ripresa è difficile ed è per questo che i suoi genitori decidono di sdradicare tutta la famiglia e trasferirsi del paradisiaco villaggio di Eventown. E tutto a Eventown è perfetto. Dal tempo sempre bello, alla ricette culinarie che risultano sempre buonissime. Elodee è felice del cambiamento, sopratutto perchè le cose nella sua famiglia cominciano a tornare apposto. Ma più il tempo passa più si rende conto che le cose a Eventown sono davvero TROPPO perfette. Così perfette che qualsiasi cosa fuori dall'ordinario viene visto con sospetto. E perchè i suoi ricordi della vecchia vita si fanno sempre più annacquati e difficili da afferrare?Mi sono imbattuta in Eventown per puro caso e devo dire che questo libro si è rivalato una bellissima sorpresa.Mi è piaciuto moltissimo ed è riuscito a farmi davvero emozionare. Ammetto di essermi fatta la mia bella dose di pianto, sopratutto nella parte finale.Lo stile dell'autrice è molto leggero e scorrevole il che permette di leggere il libro molto velocemente.La voce narrante è quella di Elodee. La conosciamo in un momento di difficoltà a cui lei reagisce con una rabbia impossibile da controllare. Elodee è una protagonista che ho amato perchè riesce allo stesso tempo a essere unica e tenace, ma non nasconde comunque la sua fragilità.Una cosa che ho apprezzato particolarmente in questo romanzo è che noi lettori non sappiamo quali sia stata la causa dello sconvolgimento della famiglia di Elodee. Non sappiamo cosa gli abbia feriti tanto da voler lasciare tutto e ricominciare d'accapo. Questo è infatti una sorte di mistero che imperversa per tutto il romanzo, e solo alla fine ne veniamo a conoscenza. Certo non è proprio difficile da prevedere, ma come espediente narrativo l'ho comunque apprezzato.Eventown è una storia di speranza. Di voglia di ricominciare, di andare avanti ma senza dimenticare ciò che abbiamo lasciato dietro. E ci insegna ad apprezzare i momenti felici anche se questi avvengono in periodi difficili della nostra vita, perchè proprio per questo, hanno un significato più profondo e un sapore più intenso.Una storia magica ma dove la magia più grande è rappresentata dalle emozioni e dai sentimenti delle persone. Meraviglioso. Davvero una piccola gemma nascosta.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Elodee’s family faced a tragedy this year and had trouble recovering from it. Elodee is always angry and her twin sister, Naomi, is getting quieter. Given those circumstances, moving to Eventown seemed like the best plan. The family had vacationed in Eventown and had great memories of being there. When they move into their house that is just like every other house in town, they discover a life filled with hikes into the hills, no cars, walking to school past a waterfall and woods, and rosebushes Elodee’s family faced a tragedy this year and had trouble recovering from it. Elodee is always angry and her twin sister, Naomi, is getting quieter. Given those circumstances, moving to Eventown seemed like the best plan. The family had vacationed in Eventown and had great memories of being there. When they move into their house that is just like every other house in town, they discover a life filled with hikes into the hills, no cars, walking to school past a waterfall and woods, and rosebushes everywhere. Their lives find a comforting rhythm there. But things are a bit too perfect: there are no clouds in the sky, no rainy days, and ice cream doesn’t melt down your wrists. When the twins are sent to the Welcome Center, they are given a chance to tell six stories of their lives, days of their greatest sorrows and joys. Naomi goes first and tells her stories, but Elodee’s session is interrupted. Naomi is quickly fitting into the town while Elodee remembers more of their life before and starts to ask questions about their lives in Eventown.Haydu’s novel takes a deep look at grief and pain and its purpose in our lives. It looks at what happens when bad memories are removed and perfection is put in their place. It is a limited perfection, one with no books to read, only one song to listen to, no cell phones, no Internet and no television. It is idyllic and eerie, a Stepford version of childhood. Horror is sidestepped neatly here, instead becoming a book about empowerment and making your own choices while asking important questions.Elodee is a great main character. The fact that she is a twin is an important element in the book as it focuses on everyone in Eventown being the same but even then Elodee and Naomi are very different from one another. The twins make an interesting counterpoint to the entire town, with Elodee and her vivid anger, big questions and willingness to be different making an ideal person to expose what is really going on.Filled with magic and mystery, this book is a compelling look at the price of perfection. Appropriate for ages 9-12.https://wakingbraincells.com/2019/02/...
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent meditation on the theme of emotions, how all emotions are tangled together, so that if we get rid of memories of one emotion - sadness, anger, etc- then we're getting rid of memories of other emotions at the same time, since you can have a memory that is bittersweet, both happy and sad. (view spoiler)[You can be angry and guilty at the same time, or embarrassed and proud, or many other mixes. The theme of it being better to have the memories of the things that make us sad than to no An excellent meditation on the theme of emotions, how all emotions are tangled together, so that if we get rid of memories of one emotion - sadness, anger, etc- then we're getting rid of memories of other emotions at the same time, since you can have a memory that is bittersweet, both happy and sad. (view spoiler)[You can be angry and guilty at the same time, or embarrassed and proud, or many other mixes. The theme of it being better to have the memories of the things that make us sad than to not remember something is strong. I also appreciated that in a book about embracing sadness, it was clear (to me as an adult reader anyway) that Lawrence's depression is a chemical imbalance, not the result of something bad happening that is a haunting memory for him. It would have been so tempting to add that in as an argument for why they made the choice to go to Eventown, and I'm glad the author kept it to "we tried our best, he tried his best".The characterizations were strong, and I liked in particular the way that Elodee, the narrator, came to realize that different people are brave in different ways, and that each person has a chance to step up and be brave at a different time. The line-level writing was not stunning, but it was solidly good. I'd be interested in hearing what children thought of it. It was obvious to me as an adult by the end of the first chapter that the family had recently experienced the loss of a child, and I'd even pinned it down as an older brother fairly quickly, but it's not clear to me whether child readers were also supposed to realize this, or if it was intended as a surprise.The casual inclusion of two moms, and the off-hand references to how Elodee thinks her sister wishes she were more normal "more like Betsy and her moms" was appreciated. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    My experience with reading Eventown was (dare I say it) uneven. The premise of the book is compelling: how can imperfect humans create for themselves a perfect world? It seems the suppressing feelings, memories, choices is the answer in Eventown. Sure, you can still have ice cream. Please choose one of these three flavors. Sure, you play in the school band. Here's the song we perform. They're tasty flavors, and it's a nice song, but there is no moving -- or even talking about moving -- beyond th My experience with reading Eventown was (dare I say it) uneven. The premise of the book is compelling: how can imperfect humans create for themselves a perfect world? It seems the suppressing feelings, memories, choices is the answer in Eventown. Sure, you can still have ice cream. Please choose one of these three flavors. Sure, you play in the school band. Here's the song we perform. They're tasty flavors, and it's a nice song, but there is no moving -- or even talking about moving -- beyond those choices. We know from the get-go that something happened to Elodee and her family; they're escaping something when they move to Eventown. And we know that there is something definitely weird about this town. This is a beautifully written distopian novel. The characters are interesting and compelling. The world-building is complete. The narrative builds suspensefully. And then the story takes a really wild turn. And Eventown goes from being a distopian novel to a fantasy novel in a way that really changed the story for me. The issue might be that I am not a fantasy reader. Distopian fiction seems plausible. Fantasy doesn't. So, changing styles/methods midstream was rather jarring to me. And lessened my appreciation for the book. A more seasoned and appreciative reader of fantasy might have a very different experience.ONE NOTE: I appreciated that Haydu populates Eventown with diverse families. Popular girl Becky has two moms. Elodee's best friend Veena, who was born in Eventown, has parents who immigrated from India. Diverse people are portrayed as part of a perfect community.
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