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Eventown

Review

Eventown

For 11-year-old Elodee and her family, moving to Eventown is the fresh start they need. Especially since this year Elodee’s world shifted and she’s been having trouble managing her feelings while her twin sister, Naomi, has grown quieter and more reserved. Leaving behind former friends, most of their belongings and an unnamed tragedy, the Lively family decides to start completely anew in EVENTOWN by Corey Ann Haydu --- a wonderful middle grade novel that is equal parts delightful and heartbreaking, with a dash of surrealism.

"A beautiful, vivid story about loss, memory and how sadness can be bittersweet, EVENTOWN is an unforgettable middle grade novel that should be on every shelf."

Life is better in Eventown. Fractions suddenly makes sense, music class is actually fun and every dish Elodee makes from the recipe box that comes with the new house is perfect. Sure, Eventown is a bit odd. All the houses are identical, there are no TVs or cars and only one outside family a year gets accepted to join the Eventown community. But the sun is always shining, the air tastes like blueberries and Elodee’s parents are the happiest they’ve been in a year, even if it’s almost as if they’ve forgotten what life was like before Eventown. Elodee questions why all the books in the library are blank, why there are only three ice cream flavors and how they only ever play one song in music class. This adds to the growing distance between Elodee and Naomi, as Naomi would rather blend in, while Elodee sees the fun in standing out. Elodee’s mom and her classmates say it will all make sense once they visit the Welcoming Center and receive a mandatory introduction to the town.

At the Welcoming Center, Elodee and Naomi are asked to share six stories about when they were the most scared, embarrassed, heartbroken, lonely, angry and joyful. Naomi goes first, and when it’s Elodee’s turn, she only tells three stories before her time is interrupted. Naomi can’t remember the six stories she told, and is complacent to forget. Elodee doesn’t remember the three stories she gave away, and desperately holds on to the remaining three. But holding on to the past has its consequences in Eventown. Particularly since Elodee feels the pressure to let go of her memories and conform to not only her new friends, but also her own family.

While everyone around her would rather forget, Elodee decides that remembering the past, even if it’s painful, is the best way to move forward. It’s sadness that makes the happy moments so special. A beautiful, vivid story about loss, memory and how sadness can be bittersweet, EVENTOWN is an unforgettable middle grade novel that should be on every shelf.

Reviewed by Margret Wiggins on February 26, 2019

Eventown
by Corey Ann Haydu