29 Jul 2015

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Release Date: 1st September 2015
Publisher: Delacorte
Page Count: 250
Format: Ebook | ARC

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Recommend for: fans of The Fault in Our Stars or All the Bright Places

Synopsis (from GR): 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.

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.

My thoughts:  I don't know what I did right in life to be approved for an ARC, but whatever I did, I'm glad I did it. Told in a series of emails, text messages, charts, illustrations, and Madeline's own dictionary definitions and mini-book reviews (in addition to first-person narration), it was an absolute joy to read. Everything, Everything was about on par with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for squee factor for me. It is a celebration life and love, and quite possibly the most uplifting book I have read all year. 

Madeline has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID), a disease which basically means that she is allergic to everything. She has basically lived her life in a protective bubble with only her mother and her nurse, Carla, for companionship - her visitors are very few and highly regulated. For the most part, Madeline accepts her life for what it is - until Olly moves next door. 

Madeline and Olly's relationship was beautiful, and the romance wasn't insanely cheesy. I admit, it felt a little like insta-love - Madeline sees him through her bedroom window, and it's like her entire perspective on the world changes - but that didn't affect my enjoyment factor of the novel. After the initial sighting, their relationship was built up slowly. We got to see the pair begin a friendship through emails, instant messages, texts and miming through windows. Madeline and Olly weren't one entity - they were two separate people with their own traits and personalities, and I liked that we got to see their relationship test their boundaries and make them stronger for it. I liked that Maddy wasn't defined by her relationship with Olly - and while he presents new opportunities for her, she also fears how Olly can affect her life.

The addition of illustrations etc into the narration was done flawlessly. They added a bit of charm and character, and made the book feel a little... interactive. It gave you a bit more insight into Maddy's character - her wit, her sense of humour, her intelligence, and her yearning for something more in life. Maddy doesn't just want to live - she wants to live a life that's worth remembering, and while she can sometimes come across as being selfish, you cannot fault her for not wanting to live her life in a protective bubble. Also, shout-out for diversity (!) - Maddy is Japanese/African-American.
I think my only quibble with the novel (and it is a fairly big quibble - like, an entire plot point) was the reveal about what Maddy's mother had done. I felt like it cheapened Maddy's experiences. Maddy put so much on the line and risked so much in order to really feel like she's living, but the ending made me feel like what Maddy thought she was risking and what she actually did... didn't match up. Also, given that Maddy has SCID, I think Yoon could've focused a bit more on the disease. I know that the romance is the selling point of the novel (and it's a beautifully-written romance), but I would've loved for Everything, Everything to go into more depth about the disease.

Everything, Everything is definitely worth the hype (it's not released until September and already has a four-star average rating on GR), and I know will be going down as one of my favourite releases of 2015. I cannot recommend it enough!


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