Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Goodreads rating: 4.11
“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.” —Goodreads
My Rating: 4.5/5
Cover Rating: 4/5
I heard many good things about Everything, Everything before reading the book myself. I purchased it at the 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, but never got around to reading it until recently. I remember telling myself to just open the book, to just read one chapter so I could get myself started.
I didn’t expect to finish the entire novel that night. I also didn’t expect for it to jump to the top of my list of favorite books.
Yes, folks. It was that good. It’s honestly quite hard to explain how amazed I was as I flipped all 310 pages, only stopping to brush my teeth (if it weren’t for hygiene, I probably would have stayed in the same position until I finished). What makes the book interesting is that it isn’t just structured like a regular novel; Nicola Yoon incorporates e-mail messages, text messages, and notes within the pages. There was also one page that was completely inked black, but I can’t tell you why, because spoilers are not cool 🙂
The basic premise of the book is that Madeline, an eighteen-year old girl, has been living under a house-arrest-esque situation her whole life, because she suffers from a disease she calls SCID. She doesn’t really question her lifestyle, and is actually quite content with it until a mysterious, dark haired boy named Oliver moves in next door. To be honest, I found the way Maddy and Olly “connected” to be quite cliche. It’s the classic makes-eye-contact-then-shyly-looks-away type of situation. Although I’ve read many YA novels with the same first meeting scenario, I still love it when said scenarios happen. I have to say, however, that these situations are not realistic whatsoever. If I peeked through the curtains at someone like Maddy did, I’m pretty sure I’d receive nothing but weird looks (if any of you beg to differ, and have met your soulmate through just staring at each other, please let me know in the comments. I will happily be proven wrong).
After meeting Olly, Maddy’s life completely changes. She looks at everything differently and is constantly yearning for more than what she has. Maddy begins to push her boundaries and take risks like never before. It was interesting seeing the way her character developed throughout the novel. I watched as Maddy evolved from an obedient, careful mama’s girl to someone brave, rebellious, and larger than life.
Yoon has such a compelling writing style that kept my eyes glued to the pages for hours. When I read about how the characters talk to each other, I could actually picture it very clearly in my head. But I guess part of the reason for this can be attributed to the fact that the trailer for the Everything, Everything film had already been released way before I started reading, so I had pictures of the characters in my mind. Something similar happened to me while I was reading Divergent as well; the movie was already out, and all throughout my reading of the series, Tris and Tobias basically looked like Shailene Woodley and Theo James to me. I think that can be a both a good and bad thing.
In addition, reading Everything, Everything was like taking a breath of fresh air from the overwhelming sea of main Young-Adult characters who are Caucasian. Maddy is Japanese mixed with African American, and her love interest is Olly, whom I believe is white. This usually never happens in YA novels, which is another reason why I love this book so much. It not only encompasses racial diversity, but also highlights mental illness which I will get to very soon…
Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Fans of YA novels will be very comfortable with Yoon’s writing style. Even if you don’t usually read YA, Everything, Everything is a great read that was both thought-provoking and unique.
***THE SPOILER-FREE PART OF THIS BOOK REVIEW ENDS HERE. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK YET, PLEASE PLEASE please LOOK AWAY NOW. TRUST ME, THE PLOT TWIST IS SO JAW-DROPPING THAT YOU WILL NOT WANT ME TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU***
Oh. My. Goodness. Words cannot express how awed I was at the sudden turn of events towards the end of the novel. I feel like there were multiple plot twists, starting with Maddy’s spontaneous decision to leave for Ha-freaking-waii with Olly. I mean, I understand that she was tired of her previous way of life, but I think this was taking it much too far. In hindsight, however, judging by how MADDY WAS NOT REALLY SICK (I am STILL IN SHOCK by the way), I think going to Hawaii may have been the best decision Maddy’s ever made.
Maddy’s mother, the supposed DOCTOR, kept her daughter living under house-arrest for 18 years all because she didn’t want to lose her. This brings to light the various forms of mental illness that one can develop from losing his or her loved ones. After Maddy’s dad and brother died when she was younger, her mom became so paranoid of losing her remaining family member that she feigned her illness to everyone. Eventually, I think Maddy’s mom got so accustomed to the lie that she herself began to treat it as the truth.
***spoilers end here :)***
When I purchased the book last year, I actually met Nicola Yoon and got it signed. I wish that I had read the book beforehand so I could tell her how much I enjoyed it 😦 There will be other chances for me to do so in the future, though!
I will 1000000% for sure be watching the film adaptation of Everything, Everything, and I will most likely be writing a review of that as well. Let’s just say that after reading the book, my expectations for the movie have skyrocketed. I’ll keep you all updated about my thoughts.
“Life is a gift. Am I wasting mine?”
“I was happy before I met him. But I’m alive now, and those are not the same thing.”
“I’ve decided baggage carousels are a perfect metaphor for life.”
“Love is worth everything. Everything.”