Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review 33. Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything
Book: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Pages: 320
Published: September 1st, 2015

This ebook was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Synopsis: 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.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

"There are entire worlds that exist just beneath our notice of them."

Thus review is all over the place, so sorry in advance.

Everything, Everything is a novel about a girl named Madeline (Maddy) who lived will an illness called SCID. This means her immune system is incredibly weak and she's basically allergic to everything. Maddy has just turned 18, and has not left her home in 17 years. She lived with her mother and nurse, but when a boy and his family move next door, Maddy fully realizes for the first time what her illness is making her miss out on. She and the boy, named Olly, start a forbidden romance that threatens Maddy's health, but allows her to finally get to feel alive.

"once lived a girl in a bubble
who I suspected was nothing but trouble
still I gave her my heart
but she blew it apart
and left me with nothing but rubble"

One thing I loved was how Maddy was a book blogger (just like me). I enjoyed seeing snippets of her reviews, which consisted of the title and a phrase like:
"Spoiler alert: You don't exist if no one sees you."
Her reads always seemed to match up to what was going on in her life (which makes sense, you read what you can relate to). Once or twice it felt a little too convenient, but I love book characters who are avid readers as well.

Maddy was a very interesting character. I loved picturing her, a Afro-Japanese teenager with long, dark hair and freckles. I often forgot she was 18, since her lack of life experience made her seem so much younger. Her entire struggle in the book was her trying to figure out how much she was willing to risk to be with Olly and experience life. The one thing I wish about her is that she was less focused on missing out on boys and more focused on missing out of the world.

Olly is technically the first boy Maddy's ever met, but I wouldn't compare their romance to insta-love. It's given time to develop, and it's all very cutesy and nerve-wrecking. They appreciate each other for the little things, and love each other in the way only young lovers can.

I got anxious during the book, because I felt the characters were overly reckless. (highlight for spoilers) The scene where Maddy goes outside for the first time and the scene where Maddy and Olly have sex both gave me heart attacks. I understand Maddy's lived her whole life trapped inside her home, but some of the moves people made were far too idiotic, going far past throwing caution to the wind.

As far as character relationships outside of the main romance, I really felt for Olly and his family. He has an abusive father, and I was able to relate to him stronger knowing that he had these real struggles to go through. I wish we got more of his sister though.

I also loved Carla (Maddy's nurse) and Maddy's relationship. Carla had worked with Maddy for 15 years, and their relationship felt more maternal than Maddy and her mother's. Carla knew that Maddy, as a legal adult, needed little bursts of freedom from her illness. She did not try to keep Maddy locked from the world, but instead worked for a safe balance of safety and outside interaction (or as much as she could without seriously endangering Maddy, although at times she took it too far). Maddy's mother was far too protective and treated her daughter like she was 8.

I felt the ending, however, was a bit of a cop-out. (higlight for spoiler) I mean, it turn out her mom was mentally ill and made up her daughter's diagnosis? Maddy was healthy the whole time? WHAT?!?! How did she get through her whole childhood without her nurse Carla getting suspicious or a SINGLE OTHER DOCTOR SEEING HER?!?!? All of the angst and risks were for nothing! I am so pissed at her mother, since by keeping her in such a condition she only worsened her daughter's condition!
I kind of was a little confused when reading the book, because I did some outside research on SCID, and some of the facts didn't seem to match up. The most famous cases of SCID ended with the people dying as children or preteens, so I was a little put off by the fact she had lived with no lapses into adulthood. A lot of people seem to love the end though, so I'll let everyone decide for themselves.

Although the book had it's flaws, I would recommend it for people who like YA romances. 75% of reviewers on Goodreads rated it 4 or 5 stars, so that's always a good sign!


Want another opinion? Here are some other reviews for Everything, Everything (may contain spoilers):
Ali Locatelli
Book Baristas
School Library Journal

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