Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published: September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books.
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance.
Source: Purchased from Waterstones
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones
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.
Everything, Everything is a charming, creative, thoughtful and uplifting book. The story follows the life of eighteen year old, Madeline, who’s afflicted by a very rare disease that basically means she’s allergic to everything. Due to this disease she is house bound and her only companions are her mother and nurse, Carla. At the beginning of the book Madeline had well and truly made peace with her condition. However, upon meeting her new next door neighbour, Olly, Maddy’s deep sense of longing begins to bloom within her.
Olly and Maddy’s relationship is definitely one that takes off very quickly and while this would usually bother me, I was so charmed by the writing and their interactions that I found myself smiling instead of scowling. Olly essentially reminds Maddy of the life and experiences she’s missed and it’s through her interactions with him that her longing and need for something more festers.
Due to her medical condition and her close monitoring Maddy is essentially trapped inside her own home. However, Maddy is not the only one who’s trapped because while Olly is free to experience the moments Maddy longs for, he too is trapped by the tumultuous family dynamic within his household.
Contributing to the charm of the book is the way that we are presented with illustrations highlighting some of Maddy’s thoughts and feelings. I found that the combination of the beautiful narrative prose and the illustrations further heightened out connection to Maddy and made this book all the more uplifting.
However, as much as I enjoyed this book there are several moments in the last quarter of the story that can be seen as very irresponsible and quite frankly unbelievable. This is mainly due to the decisions made by our main character and the reactions of our supporting characters to this decision. However, it is due to this rashness that brings us to that insane plot twist; although part of me did actually suspect this would happen. The plot twist itself raised a few questions and part of me still wonders how it went undetected for so long.
I would have liked a little more information about SCID. We get to know the basics of the illness but we never really explore it, which is a shame because this is such a rare disease, one I knew nothing about until I read the book.
Madeline’s story serves as a reminder of the way we take advantage of these mundane activities that she had been deprived of her entire life. Despite my queries this is a book that is full of heart, charm and hope. This book is a celebration of life and living it to the fullest.