Identical twins Elodee and Naomi are moving from their home of Juniper to Eventown. Something has happened in their family that no one will talk about and it seems to be causing their move. Who chooses to move in March when you have kids that are in school unless their is some kind of problem? This is the opening premise to Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu.
(I received a copy of this as part of the #KidLitExchange Network. All opinions are my own.)
The move is impacting the twins in different ways. While they are identical, the twins have very different personalities and ways of viewing the world. Elodee likes to stick out and be different. Naomi likes to blend into the crowd. Elodee loves to talk, ask questions, and make interesting creations in the kitchen. Naomi is quiet and only comes out of her shell when doing gymnastics. Neither of them are thrilled with the idea of the move, but their mom feels that they need a clean start.
The start of Eventown could be any family getting ready for a move. The differences really come when they get to Eventown and Elodee just can’t get comfortable. They make friends quickly enough and everything seems simply perfect. But perfect isn’t always what it seems and Haydu does a wonderful job of making the town seem wonderful and yet slightly sickening at the same time. You know that something major has happened to the family and most readers will probably guess what it was early on, but the move to Eventown seems extreme, yet only to Elodee.
On some levels Eventown feels like the pretend city of Stepford but for a younger audience (and minus the sexism). You know something not so right is going on but can’t understand why so many are willing to go along with it. It is also a great way of showing that when something really, really bad happens, you have to find a way to deal with it, not erase it from your thoughts. The world that we live in isn’t perfect and we have to get hurt from time to time, have failures, ask questions, in order to grow. Haydu manages to express it perfectly for a middle grade audience. I would recommend this to kids who enjoy magical realism.