By now, you all know how much I love contemporaries, how much I love sweet stories, how much of a marshmallow I am. Everything, Everything was one of these cute books I was almost sure I’d love, and, YES, I did. This book was everything I’d expected it to be. Not going very far with the word pun here, am I? But you will forgive me, right?
ME? OH DON’T WORRY. I JUST CAN’T GET OUT. EVER.
“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”
In a world where contemporaries are sometimes judged for cruelly lacking originality, Everything, Everything perfectly stood out with its different concept. Madeline, our main character, is allergic to the outside world, meaning that she doesn’t leave her house, at all, because she could catch anything, a tiny little bit bacteria, and, well, this would be it. In her ordinary routine of homeschooling, being under constant care from her mom and Carla, her nurse, there’s no place for unpredictability, no place to let the outside world in. Until Olly moves next door. Obviously. If the originality here lies on SCID, that strange, unknown and incurable sickness, nothing original in the boy-next-door kind of story. However, I have to say, this didn’t stop me from enjoying this book to bits, because the originality and beautifulness is, in the book itself, wonderful: the illustrations, supposedly made by Madeline, were such a nice touch to the story, making it feel more real, making it feel like we were reading her diary, and getting to know her quirks in depth.
RELATABLE, BOOKISH, AND DIVERSE MAIN CHARACTER.
“I’ve read many more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me.”
Moreover, Maddie was such a relatable character, I couldn’t help but feel for her. She loves books, she reads an awful lot of them, and does one sentence reviews on her tumblr. Which is, to be honest, fantastic, because, hello bookworm? She was kind, witty, and anxious as well, but not so much that it took over all of the book. For a teenager with this kind of sickness, she was pleasant to read about, and not the kind to complain at all, which impressed me a bit. I loved her interactions with Olly by Instant Messages, and we could really feel her whole personality in the writing. AND Madeline is a diverse character, it’s acknowledged in her physical description, but we’re not talking about it too much. Since Madeline spends all of her time with her mother, we could see that they had such a special bond, and it was great to have such a big presence of family in that story.
If Madeline’s mom was there, sometimes in an overwhelming way (but understandable because of her sickness), I really appreciated the fact that Olly’s family was accounted for just as well. Because obviously, as a teenager, Olly didn’t move in the house next door alone, but with both his parents and sister. As we got to know him, we get a glimpse of his family stories and struggles having an abusive, violent father. I loved that we got to know his own issues as well, making this story a bit more rounded. Obviously, we have to talk about Olly and Madeline’s relationship. I won’t be making any spoilers here, I promise, but this relationship has rights, and wrongs, ups, and downs, and it felt for that very realistic. However, there’s a bad case of insta-lust and love right here, so be warned. If I’m not usually very fond of that trope, it didn’t prevent me from loving this book.
CAUTION: PLOT TWIST AHEAD
“For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have.”
There’s something about Everything, Everything, that’s a hit or miss, and it’s the plot twist. I won’t spoil anything here, but I kind of saw it coming, well, part of it, hence the 4 stars rating. I would have liked to be surprised more, but it didn’t take any of the enjoyment. When I read it, I was still astonished, because there are ways I was still surprised, and ways in which I was wondering just exactly how that could be happening. So, I’m not mad, at all, on the contrary.
Everything, Everything is a sweet, original story. It’s about sickness, it’s about falling in love, it’s about family just as well, and I loved it for that. If it can be a bit predictable at times, it’s still a book you’ll want to read in one sitting, admire for the wonderful drawings, and think about it for a while afterwards. A cute book, and Nicola Yoon definitely is an author to follow.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read Everything, Everything? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? Were you surprised by the plot twist? Do you want to read it?
Do you actually LIKE plot twists? Share your thoughts in comments!
Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything, Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, September 1st 2015.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.