“Beautiful, mysterious and deeply satisfying.” —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger
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?--from the publisher
336 pages 978-0062689801 Ages 9-13
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 tired
And you can’t find a place to rest
And what used to come so easy
Is now some kind of test
There’s no substitute for life
You wouldn’t even know you were living
If 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.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
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