This Town is Not All Right
This Town is Not All Right
Their dad hauled the twins into the wooden shed. The moment the door closed behind them, a complicated digital panel sprang out of the rotted wood walls. He placed his hand over the handprint, and a red light scanned his palm. There was a slick beep, beep noise before the ground jolted and shuddered. And then it dropped. Beacon yelped as the shed hurtled down. Even Everleigh looked as if she were planning a full-scale retreat. Meanwhile, their dad stood with his hands clasped calmly behind his back, completely unruffled as they sped toward their death. Finally the elevator slowed to a stop. There was an elegant ping, and the doors slid open soundlessly.
Twelve-year-old twins Beacon and Everleigh aren’t expecting much when their dad moves them to the small fishing town of Driftwood Harbor, but their dad insists it will be the fresh start they need after losing their older brother Jasper a year before. Beacon would prefer to have stayed in Los Angeles but is determined to be brave for his family. But then strange stuff starts happening. He starts losing chunks of time, and he swears he sees a classmate disappear under the waves in a storm, but the sheriff confirms that she was home in bed. And the strangest occurrence of all is his sister’s sudden willingness to wear a PINK dress. Something’s not quite right in Driftwood Harbor, and Beacon is determined to find out what it is.
In this middle grade sci-fi thriller, author Michelle Krys (writing as M. K. Krys) has crafted an entertaining story that sensitively explores grief, friendship, and sibling relationships with an eerie twist.
Twins Beacon and Everleigh have their differences. Beacon loves skateboarding while Everleigh has a passion for fixing cars, but the one thing they agree on is that they do not want to move away from their L.A. home to Driftwood Harbor. Beacon is willing to try anything if it will snap his sister out of her anger and guilt over their older brother’s death the year before. As soon as they arrive at the town, they are greeted by the too perfect Jane who resembles a pre-teen Stepford wife and is leader of the Gold Stars, a youth group intended to promote social responsibility.
As the story progresses, stranger and stranger things begin happening. First there’s the drowning that Beacon is sure he saw but everyone insists he imagined, and then there’s the compulsory vitamin shots that seem to turn the rest of the kids, including his sister, into perfectly obedient zombies. The only ones not affected are Beacon (who is terrified of needles and manages to temporarily evade the nurse), and science-nerd Arthur who studies aliens and seems to be immune to its effects.
While the aliens among us plot isn’t exactly original, This Town is Not All Right is well-paced and full of action, and Krys does an excellent job of creating enough mystery and suspense to keep readers engaged. The story also ends on a cliff-hanger indicating a definite sequel which will delight kids eager to find out the fates of Beacon, Everleigh, and Arthur.
This Town is Not All Right is a book for fans of Stranger Things and sci-fi horror stories.
Rachel Seigel is an Adult selection Specialist at LSC and an author.