Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Format: Hardback

Page Count: 310


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. (taken from

"Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love."

I'll admit it: I finally picked this one up because the movie hits theaters soon and I wanted to be prepared. I've always wanted to read it, but it was one of those books that gathered dust on my shelf for months and months. The premise sounded interesting, and after reading so many glowing reviews, I was sure this book would be a favorite of mine.

Obviously, I started Everything Everything with high expectations. The movie trailer only convinced me more that the book would knock my socks off. Yes, I use phrases like "knock my socks off" because I am secretly an 85 year old woman. Anyway, I really wanted to love this book. Thankfully, Yoon delighted me with a touching story about getting older and coping with life.

I liked Madeline. She's relatable, even though she suffers from a disease that practically no one else understands. Despite her monotonous life, she maintains a positive attitude and attempts to place the needs of others before her own. I immediately liked her, and I enjoyed watching her grow. Olly was also interesting, although I felt my feelings toward him were limited by the fact that we mostly learn about him over text messages. Obviously that couldn't really have been different, though, what with Madeline being stuck inside her bubble 24/7.
I don't think I'm spoiling too much by revealing that Maddy does eventually leave her house, with Olly in tow. The two escape to a romantic location, and I had fun with their travel experiences. It strongly reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars when the characters visit Amsterdam. I won't say that Everything Everything is a TFioS wannabe, but it definitely flows in the same vein.

The strongest aspect of Everything Everything is undoubtedly the "coming of age" theme, which actually surprised me. I thought Madeline's illness would dominate the story, but in reality, her desire to make her own decisions and become an adult was much more apparent. As a girl in her early twenties, I really appreciated how Yoon tackled the struggle between maturing and dealing with your loved ones' expectations.

Okay, the next paragraph is in white so that only those who aren't afraid of spoilers can read. It's honestly the one aspect of the novel that kept me from loving the story.

I wasn't super thrilled with the ending, to be honest. Maddy finds out she wasn't sick and has never been sick. It's like she has been handed this magic remedy, and I kind of rolled my eyes. What about the readers out there who don't have lying mothers and who actually have to learn to live life with a chronic illness? It felt like an easy cop-out to me, or like Yoon was saying the only way Maddy learned to be happy was to miraculously be healed. I would have MUCH preferred it if Maddy had stayed sick and learned to cope with life despite her struggles. That would have been a much more powerful message, in my opinion.

Overall, I really did enjoy Everything Everything. The ending really bugged me, but other than that it was a nice read. I do recommend you check out the novel before seeing the movie in theaters.