A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Eleven-year-old narrator Elodee has a good vocabulary (for example, "incessant," "precarious") and talks a lot about the fine points of cooking (and what can go wrong). She and twin Naomi love books and mention several of their favorites, like Blueberries for Sal. She also loves Beatles songs.
Strong themes of love, family, friendship, courage, forgiveness, being who you are. It matters to remember things, even when they're painful.
Positive Role Models
Just about all the characters are well-meaning but damaged. They have only the best intentions, but that leads them to some pretty strange places in the conformity -- and brainwashing -- they demand of their neighbors and family members. Besides 11-year-old Elodee, who's constantly worried and conflicted but not quite ready to go along with the program, a few adults, notably her friend Veena's parents, keep some independence and resist the pressure.
Violence & Scariness
A family member's suicide in the past has far-reaching consequences for some characters. In order to live in Eventown, people have their memories wiped of things that hurt them in their previous lives. A tween character slams an obnoxious classmate against the wall. A character hacks a beloved rosebush to bits.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Elodee's slightly embarrassed when her mom kisses her dad.
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Products & Purchases
Several places like Olive Garden, McDonald's, etc. are mentioned when kids wonder if they'll be in Eventown.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Eventown is a multilayered fable about a family who, in the wake of an unspecified but traumatic event, move to the community of the title, where everything's perfect, to make a new start. Author Corey Ann Haydu brings an engaging mix of heart, humor, tragedy, and a bit of creepiness as 11-year-old narrator Elodee struggles to figure out the right thing to do, what's going on with her family, and how to deal with the fact that she and her identical twin Naomi aren't so identical anymore. Lurking in the background are the various painful experiences that caused people to flee to Eventown in the first place, which include racism, xenophobia, natural disasters, and a family member's suicide.
Is It Any Good?
Corey Ann Haydu spins an intriguing, imaginative, heartfelt, and creepy tale of a family that seeks refuge and a new beginning in a town where everything's perfect. When that perfection seems to involve losing more and more of what she loves, 11-year-old Elodee isn't so sure about Eventown, but also wonders if she's the problem, as the rest of her family seem perfectly happy with it all. Young readers of Eventown will appreciate Elodee's spirit, her ability to cut through falseness and pretense, and her struggles with fitting in (and whether she even wants to).
"What they don't know is it's Jenny who is being awful by not stopping her question asking when I obviously don't want to answer. I am angry at all of them with their tiny, almost-invisible dismissals and the not-so-tiny ways they tell us that they want everything to go back to the way it was before, not because they want us to be less sad, but because they want their own lives to be easier."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.