Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 284
“I decide then that love is a terrible, terrible thing. Loving someone as fiercely as my mom loves me must be like wearing your heart outside of your body with no skin, no bones, no nothing to protect it.”
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 had been on my radar for a long time, because everybody who reads it absolutely loves it, and raves about it in a review. I‘m going to warn you right now, this will not be a raving review, as I seem to be one of the very few people who did not like this book.
Now, I didn’t dislike the entire book. In fact, I was really quite enjoying it up until the end. It was fascinating to read about a girl who has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), and can’t leave her house since she’s allergic to just about everything. The book follows Maddie, our protagonist, and her journey of trying to deal with her disease once she falls in love. Then, the mess of an ending happened. It completely ruined the ENTIRE book for me, I have never felt more cheated by a book than this.
I was scared that this book was going to revolve around the terrible plot device of Maddie becoming magically cured once she falls in love. (HUGE spoiler, highlight at own risk: Instead she was never sick, ugh). While that didn’t occur, I still felt very indifferent about Maddie and Olly’s relationship. I thought it was fine, I didn’t necessarily like it or dislike it. This is probably due to the fact that I found it very difficult to become attached to the individual characters themselves, let alone their relationship. It also felt quite insta-lovey to me. Since the whole book centers around the relationship, this translated to me feeling quite “meh” about everything.
Maddie also drove me insane when she became almost obsessive over Olly, and pushed everyone else in her life away. She slacked on her studies, distanced herself from her nurse (whom she loves) and her own mother, and was irrationally angry when her mom tried to help her. I can not imagine the life that she has been forced to live because of SCID, but she was dealing with it perfectly well for 17 years before Olly came along.
The writing style is what stole the show for me. Everything, Everything is told through very short chapters (no longer than 5-6 pages), with little illustrations and other tidbits thrown in. This allowed the book to be read in a quick fashion, or in short bursts if you prefer that. I do appreciate the fact that Yoon wrote a cast of ethnically diverse and fun characters.
This book provides a very intriguing synopsis, and yet it doesn’t accurately reflect what the reader receives. There is so much less focus of Maddie and her SCID, and way more on the mysterious boy across the street. If you decide to read this (if you have yet to already), just be warned that the focus of the story is the romance.
Overall, this book has a fantastic concept and starts out strong, but quickly goes down the drain. The writing style is unique and creative, but I can’t get over the ending. It was such a cop out, and the book also ends extremely abruptly. However, if you are more of a fan of contemporaries than I am, I bet you’ll still enjoy this.