This book starts out feeling like a cross between the movies “Stepford Wives” and “Pleasantville”. Eleven-year-old twin sisters Elodee and Naomi leave their hometown of Jupiter, and move with their parents to Eventown. There are no phones, televisions, or computers. They spend the first few days thinking they’re in paradise – no stress or conflict or unpleasantness. Everyone agrees with everyone else, acts the same, and is polite to a tee. The kids all love school! Something is definitely wrong in this town.
Alarm bells go off in Elodee’s mind when she visits the library and discovers that every book is blank. And what’s up with those mandatory interviews at the Welcoming Center? Her sister Naomi seems different after her interview. Elodee completes only half of her interview, at which time she figures out what is going on in Eventown.
*** SPOILER ALERT AHEAD ***
In the end, you find out that the town has been set up as a refuge for families who have gone through a severe life trauma. As they are interviewed at the Welcoming Center, their memories of life before coming to Eventown are erased. They no longer feel the sadness or anger or anxiety they once felt. They are in a safe, predictable place where they can live happily every after. The question is: If you erase all the painful parts of life, can you fully enjoy being human?
Although this book is written for kids, it covers some deep topics – sibling relationships, family crisis, mind manipulation, depression, and death. The farther you get into the story, the more serious it becomes. The youngest reader age I would recommend is 5th grade.