cover image You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does)

You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does)

Ruth White. Delacorte, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-73998-6

Readers familiar with White's oeuvre%E2%80%94historical fiction written in a convincing Southern vernacular%E2%80%94may be surprised by her latest. It starts out as standard White, with a single mother and her two kids enjoying simple country life, and then, whaddyaknow? it turns out they are aliens. What follows is a mild Orwellian tale that breaks no new ground. Meggie Blue's family blends in on Earth except for fluorescent blue streaks in their hair that they dye or hide under caps. They've already had to move once, from California to North Carolina, and now whispers about their odd speech and mannerisms force them to flee again. Leaving in a rush, they fumble the coordinates and arrive in Fashion City on an alternate Earth, where they are repeatedly told, "You'll like it here. Everybody does," and everybody is popping Lotus, a tranquilizer provided by "The Fathers." Though the revelations about the Fathers' governance get progressively darker, the overall tone is curiously amiable, and the vagueness of the villain saps the story of the menace it needs to build tension. Ages 9%E2%80%9312. (June)