Corey Ann Haydu is the author of the new middle grade novel, “Eventown.” We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of her book! Check out our thoughts on it below:
Review of ‘Eventown’ by Corey Ann Haydu
After something happens in their family, twins Elodee and Naomi move to a new home with their parents in Corey Ann Haydu’s “Eventown.” This catastrophic event that caused them to leave their town is kept a secret though. All readers know is that something bad happened and now the family has to move. Though Eventown seems like a dream since everything is perfect, issues arise since… well, everything’s perfect.
Haydu perfectly captures how perfection, though desired for by many, actually isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Just as well, leaving where you lived before doesn’t mean that your past is gone, which narrator Elodee learns. Though people might say that the past should stay in the past doesn’t mean that events don’t change who you are. In fact, sometimes it’s better to embrace the past than the present.
This novel is wonderful for middle grade readers. I love how Haydu isn’t afraid of dealing with big issues. Kids are NOT dumb. They feel and wonder and think just as often as adults do. So tackling a story like this is an incredible feat and beautifully done.
I would 100% recommend “Eventown” by Corey Ann Haydu in a heartbeat.
Q&A with Corey Ann Haydu
We had a chance to talk with the author herself after reading her novel! Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do?
I’m an author. I write books for young adults and kids. I began as a young adult author, then started writing for the middle grade audience (8-12 year old readers), and will be moving into the chapter book space in 2020, with books for readers aged 5-9.
You wrote a novel called “Eventown” that recently just came out. What is it about and why were you inspired to write it?
“Eventown” is about identical twin sisters, Elodee and Naomi, who are leaving their town of Juniper with their family to start a new life in a new town– Eventown. It’s clear the family has been through something that’s making them want to start fresh somewhere new, but the book is written as a bit of a mystery, where the reader doesn’t know what exactly has brought them to town. When they arrive in Eventown, they discover it’s a perfect place to live. It’s filled with roses and blueberries and perfect ice cream and perfect classes and school and perfectly happy people. But as they get to know more about Eventown, the narrator, Elodee, starts to question if this perfect place is really as perfect as it seems– and if perfect is really all it’s cracked up to be anyway. She goes on a quest to find out more about their new home, and in the process learns a lot about herself and her family.
You have also written a lot of other books! What’s your writing style like and what do you enjoy writing about?
I’m interested in writing books about tough topics for younger readers. In my writing, I like to face things head on. I want my work to reflect the truth of being a human at every age– meaning that there’s a lot of hope and wonder and also a lot of confusion and pain and discomfort. Most of my recent books also involve magic, which I love using to sort of turn up the volume on real life circumstances. Also, it’s a fun way to give my imagination a workout.
Can you tell us about some of your plans for any of your upcoming novels?
I have a lot of books on the horizon! Up next is a chapter book/early reader series called “Hand-Me-Down Magic” which is about two cousins growing up in a very big, fun, predominantly Puerto Rican family, a lot like the family my own daughter is growing up in. The family runs a whimsical second hand shop that at least one of the girls think is filled with magical objects.
After that, I have a young adult novel called “Ever Cursed” that’s a sort of feminist fairytale about a group of cursed princesses as they confront their family and kingdom’s history.
You also teach writing. How did you first get into doing that?
A big part of my reasoning for getting my MFA in writing was wanting to be able to teach writing. Writing can be a little lonely and isolating and I’m a rare extroverted writer– my background is as an actor, so I’m used to collaboration and the exciting creative energy that brings. As soon as I published my first book I started pursuing teaching opportunities, and found I really loved the way it challenged me to think more deeply about craft and story and how this whole book-writing thing ever even happens!
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create your novels?
I’m a writer who really depends on the revision process. I’m a messy first drafter. I don’t usually know where I’m going and I’m always open to where the story might take me. This means I write a LOT and make a LOT of mistakes and depend a great deal on my editors to help me figure out what the heart of my story is. I often do at least 2 or 3 very large revisions– rewriting most of the novel from scratch, or rethinking at least 75% of the story. This definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, but I like the process of change and exploration and taking big risks and staying open to huge changes.
What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
I think learning how to embrace and accept my own messy process has been a struggle for me, and something that I think is so important for every writer.
Is there a fun fact about yourself that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
I was once in a Samsung commercial for a phone that played music out of little speakers. It featured me kissing a boy in a crowded street while everyone cheered us on.
What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
I’m a broken record, but stay open to possibilities. Let yourself make mistakes. Enjoy the process. Hopefully you can find what part of the process brings you real joy and focus on making the most of that. And of course, read a lot!
What do you want readers to gain the most from “Eventown?”
I hope “Eventown” helps my readers embrace their vulnerability, their stories, and find ways to be emotionally brave.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
Right now, I’m happily writing in so many different age ranges and I’m loving that. I hope to keep pushing myself to take on new challenges and to tell different kinds of stories.
Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
Embrace even the trickiest, hardest, more complicated parts of yourselves and your stories. There’s nothing to hide.