Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Goodreads description:

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.

If you’re looking for a sweet and charming book that will up your happiness levels significantly, then stop right here. There is only so much I can say about this book without giving too much away so I am going to keep this review short and sweet. I implore you to read this book! It won’t take you long as it’s so hard to put down. And I’m dying to be able to talk to someone about it so if you do read it, come back and tell me what you think.

Meeting Maddy

Madeline Whittier, or Maddy, as Olly calls her, has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease, also known as ‘bubble baby’ disease. This means that she can never go outside. The only people physically in her life are her mother and her nurse Carla. I have no idea what it feels like to live your whole life inside one house, cut off from the outside world, but there were other things about Maddy, like her love of books and the way she learns about the world through them, that I definitely could identify with. She felt so real and vivid from the very first page. Her voice is very direct and the opening chapters are short and punchy, giving you little tidbits about her life and sucking you right in. She has a positive nature and dry sense of humour that makes light of her situation – she is an expert at enjoying the little pleasures in life and finding contentment within the parameters of her life, rather than fighting against them. Nicola Yoon has done a great job of creating the kind of character you’d want to be friends with in real life, because you know she’d always be able to see the good in every situation.

Enter Olly

And then she meets Olly. When she starts exchanging messages with the boy who moves in next door things start to change. The balance has been upset, and for the first time Maddy has secrets that she keeps from her mum. The friendship that develops between Maddy and Olly is absolutely adorable and perfect in every way. There is a real innocence to it that you don’t get that often in YA books, and because of Maddy’s situation all of the intense feelings of getting to know someone special for the first time are even more SUPER INTENSE. I also loved and believed in the relationships between Maddy and her mum, and Maddy and her nurse, Carla. She doesn’t have many people in her life so you can see that she is totally invested in the relationships that she does have. While Maddy’s blossoming connection to Olly is very sweet, I think it was actually these relationships and the changes that they underwent that interested me most.

Where to from here?

So Maddy lives a life confined to her house, then begins a friendship with a boy next door – but she still can’t go outside, so what next? You will have to read it yourself to find out: that little dilemma will keep you hooked right until the last page. I did have mixed feelings about the ending. It was well-executed, so no gripes from me on that front. But I felt very torn between wanting a perfect happy ending for the characters but at the same time not feeling completely prepared to accept the changes that this could entail. I’d love to say more but I can’t, because spoilers.

Bonus feature 

The book also included some very cute illustrations which were a nice added touch and they helped to bring Maddy’s unique world viewpoint to life.

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