Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children's
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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.
*Thanks to Random House Children's for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.*
I hadn't really known much about Everything Everything before I started hearing people gush about how utterly amazing it was. Once I finished it, I could easily see why. It's mind-blowing, a true page-turner, and the hype is well-deserved!
It centers around a seventeen year old girl named Madeline 'Maddy', who's allergic to literally everything and so she's lived her entire life inside her home. The only company she has are her mother, her nurse, books, and internet. She's accepted her fate for what it is until she catches a family moving into her apartment building. That's when she first sees him.
One aspect I loved about this novel is getting to see the story unfold not just through Maddy's point of view but through messages between her and Oliver, the boy next door. That's how we got to see them get to know each other at first. There's also a bunch of other illustrations, which is why I think the reading experience is better if the reader reads this in paperback format. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I'd read this in physical format.
I found Maddy to be very relatable. She loves escaping reality through the power of a good book. She writes sentence-long reviews on Tumblr. And for a person that has a rare disease, she doesn't really complain about her life. She's very grateful for her mother. And I'm so glad because I don't like whiny characters. But I also feel sorry for all the things she's never experienced in life like first kiss, first date, and first boyfriend.
Oliver 'Olly' is unlike any other male character I've read about. He's sweet, understanding, and something seemingly innocent about him. I kind of pictured him as having a lean body and I got a little crush! I doubt any other boy would be patient with Maddy like he was. I guess it would make him a bit unrealistic because I think in real life, he would have moved on. But I still love him!
Before I even began the book, I had predicted this to be really depressing because of the 'being allergic to everything' issue. But surprisingly almost half of the book was like a feel good story filled with hilarious quotes. The tone of the writing did get more serious as we got deeper into the story.
I did have some problems with this book. It kind of felt like there was some instant love between Oliver and Maddy. They saw each other through a window and started talking through messages and he's all she can suddenly think about. I don't know. I think their 'love' was adorable. I guess you could call it first crush since Maddy's never experienced it. Another dislike I had was the ending. While I thought it was cute, it felt a bit unresolved. It was left open for readers to use their imagination when I like for a story to be wrapped up nicely so that there are no questions left. The ending was happy yet sad at the same time for reasons I can't say because it would spoil the story. I just wanted more.
Overall, Everything Everything is easily one of my favorite books of the year. It was such a quick read for me when I was having a slow reading month. The plot twist was just mind-blowing and it left me with no words. The unique plot concept and characters were very easy to invest in. I think readers will easily fall in love with them!
4 Sea Stars: A Great Read!