Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Ember (Penguin Random House, LLC) in 2017 (originally 2015)
First Ember Edition, 305 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0-553-49667-3
Y’all I just finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and WHERE do I BEGIN.
Actually, I know exactly where to begin. I’m going to begin with the caveat that, while I enjoyed this book, I can acknowledge that there are a lot of problems with it!! I do not consider myself physically disabled and thus cannot speak to the topic as an expert. I implore you to seek out some reviews speaking specifically to the problems present in this book, particularly this one (it does contain spoilers, although mine does not).
My review will be specific to my enjoyment of the book as a book, and not objective in any way. I am coming from a place of extreme privilege in this respect and acknowledge that. All this is to say that I am very aware of the many troubling issues there and I encourage other readers to explore these as well.
And with that, let us begin.
One thing I’m certain of: Wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.
Everything, Everything is an adorable YA novel about a girl named Madeline who has a condition known as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). This means, essentially, that she is allergic to loads of things and cannot leave her house because she doesn’t know what might trigger a deathly reaction. Madeline is 18 years old and hasn’t left her home since infancy. No one comes in, and she lives in near-isolation with only her mother and her nurse, Carla. Of course, an intriguing young man moves in next door and Madeline is immediately smitten.
This book gave me so. Many. Feelings. I haven’t felt this way while reading a book in ages!! I think it’s also been a while since I’ve read YA, specifically contemporary romantic YA. I’ll admit it upfront: I’m a sucker for cheesy romance. I’m a hopeless romantic. I love instalove. I love the concept of loving someone with your whole being. This book GOT ME. My heart ached and it took all my self-control not to roll around wailing the whole time I was reading it. But that’s just me.
Love is a terrible thing and its loss is even worse.
Love is a terrible thing and I want nothing to do with it.
I really adore that Maddy and Olly got to know each other through emails and IMs! (I won’t count that as a spoiler because it’s pretty predictable and happens very early on.) It made me so nostalgic. I can’t tell you how many of my relationships (friendships included) have been formed through online interactions. I’m such a shy, anxious person out in the real world that technology allows me to build relationships with people in a low-pressure environment where I don’t have to stress face-to-face interactions until after I feel comfortable with someone!
I also ADORED the writing. Nicola Yoon is very talented and there were only a few phrases from this book that I rewrote in my head (for some reason I keep getting Editor Brain while reading–I’ve never been an editor! Although, I did work in my college’s writing center for a while.) It was easy for me to feel immersed in the story and I love the illustrations that we get every so often! It’s a cute, fun way to tell a story and I really appreciated it.
I will caution avoiding the movie trailer until you’ve read the book. That’s something I try to avoid in general and I didn’t even know Everything, Everything was being made into a movie until I bought it a week or two ago, so I lucked out. The trailer, in my opinion, gives away some things that I considered to be too revealing. Basically, the movie trailer is filled with spoilers. You basically get the whole plot out of it, except for the ending. It’s annoying. I’m glad I got to go into this mostly cold and I want you to do the same if you can!
Anyway, I think that’s about all I have for this one. I definitely recommend it, particularly if you enjoy romantic YA novels. Don’t go into it expecting a great portrayal of someone with a disability, others do a much better job explaining this than I would (as stated in my initial paragraph).