Does perfection mean the erasure of all pain? Elodee wonders.
Elodee’s family needs a fresh start; everyone says so. The Lively family relocates to Eventown, a planned utopia where there’s no internet, TV, or cars, and all the houses look the same. Fifth-grader Elodee can’t wait to bake, while her identical twin sister, Naomi, looks forward to gymnastics. Part mystery, part fabulism, with a dash of dystopia, this story is as layered and delicious as one of Elodee’s concoctions. In the preteen’s narration, readers immediately see the town’s appeal. Who could resist a special, personalized event in Eventown’s Welcoming Center? After telling your stories—the scariest, most embarrassing, most heartbreaking, loneliest, angriest, and most joyful—your memories are locked away, freeing you for the happiness of Eventown. Reluctant to give away all her stories, Elodee begins to notice imperfections and question her surroundings—the weeds in their yard, how she and Naomi are drifting apart, what exactly her family wanted to forget. It’s the last that drives Elodee to search for the truth about her past. In the process, she awakens Eventown’s citizens to their feelings and connects her family through their shared stories. Although not as dark as The Giver, the narrative will evoke comparisons about the nature of perfection and the importance of memories. The Livelys present white, as does most of Eventown; one family integral to the plot is originally from India.
At once enchanting, heart-rending, and bittersweet—just as Elodee would want it. (Fiction. 9-12)