An Amazon Best Book of the Month * Kirkus Best Books of 2019 * Kids’ Indie Next Pick List * Bookpage Best Books of 2019: Middle Grade
“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?
“Engrossing.” —New York Times Book Review
“Enchanting, heart-rending, and bittersweet.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An emotionally complex and wonderfully told story.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“Thought-provoking.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In this thought-provoking novel, 11-year-old twin and experimental cook Elodee and her family leave behind an undefined sorrow for a new start in utopian Eventown, which eschews television, cars, and the internet; where everyone lives in identical houses; and where the air tastes like blueberries. Upon arrival, newcomers must visit the Welcoming Center to tell six critical stories their most intense experiences of fear, embarrassment, anger, loneliness, joy, and heartbreak. An interruption in Elodee's storytelling leaves her with her memories intact, whereas her twin Naomi can no longer remember her told memories from their past life and revels in the placid conformity of the town, with its library of blank books and single song: the "Eventown Anthem." As the twins grow apart, Haydu (Rules for Stealing Stars) sketches the sinister underpinnings of this seemingly perfect place, especially its pressure to conform in all things even baking without a recipe or planting a treasured rose veers from the town's established (and always perfect) order. Ultimately, this memorable and brave heroine chooses sometimes painful stories, memories, and love in favor of a sanitized perfection. Ages 8 12.