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Woundabout by Lev A.C. Rosen is a delightful tween urban fantasy story about a brother and sister being forced to move in with their aunt after the death of their parents in an explosion at the family capybara farm.
When I say parents, you might be imagining a dead mother and a death father. Here, though, it's two fathers: Pop and Dad. It's a minor but important detail. In so many same sex parenting stories the emphasis is put on the family being different or the children feeling weird or being treated weird for their family situation. Here, though, the family situation is treated as completely normal by how downplayed it is. The standard orphan trope is used to start off the book with a pair of illustrations: one showing two men and the children standing before the entrance to the farm, and another of just the two men smiling at the camera. It's a short and sweet way of saying the children's loss is as heart-wrenching as any other child's would be in a similar situation regardless of who the parents were.
Woundabout, then, is the eponymous focus of the story. It is a town run by a mayor who expects everyone to have a routine and for no one to ask questions. Woundabout is one of those places where every long term resident knows what's going on but no one dares to speak a word or admit to the knowledge.
Woundabout is stuck in its routine and it needs fresh eyes and fresh hearts to breath some life into the city. It reminds me Storybrooke in the first season of Once Upon a Time except that the residents aren't under a memory curse. In that regard the town is like Santaroga, of Frank Herbert's Santaroga Barrier.
Besides the siblings now living in Woundabout, there is another pair living just outside the town. They live with the mother and father on an organic vegetable farm. They're interesting because they have access to an otherwise closed community, something most of these secretive towns don't allow. Also important, though, is that the sister is confined to a wheelchair due to an injury sustained on the farm.
The sister is perhaps the most important character in the entire book because she is happy and has been able to move on beyond the huge upset in her life. She by herself is dangerous to the status quo of Woundabout but the accident at the Capybara farm is the catalyst needed to finally bring change to a town stuck in time.