Everything, Everything is a beautiful and heart-wrenching novel, written by Nicola Yoon.
Maddy has a disease that is as rare as it is famous. She’s allergic to the world and she hasn’t left her house in seventeen years. Living life with such a condition is tough, and Maddy has made it so far because of her mum and her nurse, Carla. She seems to be coping with everything until a charming new neighbour moves in next door. Olly, a young man so full of life and energy, acts as a magnet to Maddy. She knows that she can’t get too close to him without putting herself at risk, but she also knows another thing. She’s going to fall in love with Olly and it’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
I was completely and utterly blown away by this book. I actually heard about this book from Tumblr. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that social media is a waste of time! So one afternoon I was just scrolling down my dash, looking for nothing in particular except a way to procrastinate, when my eyes landed upon the most beautiful cover I’d ever seen. From there, I went on over to Goodreads. 4.02 stars. Alluring synopsis. Yes, I decided that I definitely had to read this book. I couldn’t be more thankful that I decided to pick this book up. It was beautifully written, heart-wrenching and utterly intriguing. From the moment I read the first page, I knew it was going to be impossible to put down. I devoured this book in one sitting and I know that I’m going to be rereading it again and again for quite some time.
Let me just put it out there. This book sounds cheesy and unrealistic when you first hear about it. Some girl is allergic to everything and can’t leave her house and then falls in love with the new boy next door? If this book was written by anyone other than Nicola Yoon, it would have made me throw it at a wall. Or better yet, out of my window. This book could have been fake and clichéd, but it wasn’t. The writing flowed smoothly and it had a poetic beauty to it. The characters were honest and alive and the ending was more shocking and emotional than I had ever expected and ever thought were possible. This book isn’t simplistic. It deals with really big issues, like family relationships, first love, feeling alone and learning to embrace the life you’re given. I couldn’t be more grateful for the journey I was taken on while reading this book.
Another thing I loved about this book was the integration of doodles and graphs and quirky pages. It really allowed this book to stand out and be something different from a lot of other YA books out there. I was surprised to stumble across a book like this one so soon after reading Illuminae (which also has interesting graphics), but I still found it refreshing and charming. It also allowed this book to feel really personal, which further enabled be to form a close connection with Maddy.
I absolutely loved getting to know the characters in this book, particularly Maddy. Because we’re with Maddy the whole time, I feel like I definitely knew her a lot better than the other characters. I formed a close bond with her right from the very beginning and I really enjoyed being taken on a journey with such a wise and beautiful character. One of the things I loved most about her was how well she had coped with living inside this ‘bubble’ her whole life. She didn’t mope around or gaze out the window wistfully. She wanted to live a life worth living, and she also focussed on experiencing different aspects of life through books, finding herself immersed in their stories. In that way, she was very relatable. I, too, was absorbed in this story because it allowed be to be given a glimpse at what kind of life having this disease would lend itself to. Also, Maddy was hardly your ‘typical’ YA protagonist as she’s Japanese/African American, which was great to see as I’m a huge advocate for more diversity in fiction and I was pleased to see that Nicola is too. She’s one of the heroes paving the way for a more accepting and empathetic future.
Olly was another character who was just adorable. Seriously, all I wanted to do for almost the entire novel was just wrap my arms around him. He always wanted to protect Maddy, which was so sweet and yet so heart-wrenching, particularly when I found out more about him and his life. The relationship between Maddy and Olly was so cute. I loved reading their email exchanges and instant messages and found myself smiling uncontrollably at how gorgeous these two were together. Their relationship was genuine and their chemistry was real. Watching their relationship grow and fluctuate was so real and beautiful to behold. I couldn’t have wished for a more adorable couple.
One other person who played a major part in making this novel what it is is Carla, Maddy’s nurse. She provided support and care for Maddy and she was seen as another mother figure. I loved her words of wisdom and how she helped inspire Maddy to take risks and live her life to the fullest. However, I always felt as though Maddy’s actual mother was slightly mysterious until the very end. I never felt that close with her and the only real interactions we saw between her and Maddy was when they played games together, which was occasionally. I think that loving Maddy’s mother and growing close to her would have allowed me to become more emotional at the end of the book. I would have also liked to have heard more about Maddy’s father and brother, who had died in an accident when Maddy was a baby. But honestly, wanting more details about these characters is such a minor criticism and I loved getting to know the characters in this novel. This book didn’t contain too many characters, which was easy on my brain. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of people and their personalities, but this book allowed me to really get to know the main characters.
The ending would have to be one of my favourite parts of this book. It was shocking and emotional and left me with tear-streaked cheeks. I never expected this novel to end the way it had, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all wrapped up. Overall, I’d give Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon a score of 9.5 out of 10. I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary and romance who are looking for something unique and fairly short to read. In an ideal world this novel would have been longer, but I guess you can’t always get what you want. That’s what rereading is for! So let’s talk! Have you read this book, or are you planning on doing so? What do you think of the idea behind this story? Do you cry easily while reading books? I’d love to know 😀