Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, published August 2015 by Penguin Random House.
Read: August 2015
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary/Issues
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads 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 17 years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But 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.
I have SO many thoughts! I love when this happens, it makes writing reviews so much easier! Some info first of all – this book is heavily illustrated by the author’s husband, which is a really nice touch, and they are supposed to be fundamental to the story. Unfortunately, my eARC did not want to play ball, and I missed out on seeing 95% of them – not good. I tried viewing the eARC on both the Kindle app on my phone, and tablet, with no joy. Apparently some others could see them fine, so if anyone has any tips for reading eARCs with better formatting, please let me know!
First of all, let’s talk about the illness in this novel, as it’s practically a character in its own right. Our MC, Maddy, suffers from SCID, a rare disease that affects her immune system. For those of you who are interested, fellow book blogger (and Doctor) Megz @ Barefoot Whispers covered the accuracy of the medical elements in her review, which was super interesting! I’ve seen some reviewers comment negatively on the “whiteness” of Maddy’s surroundings in relation to her illness, but it didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t look at it like Maddy had to have white around her because she was somehow allergic to colour, instead I thought it was creative license to reflect her sterile, plain and bland existence, and to better contrast with Olly, and his obsession with black.
Moving on to the relationships in the novel, I really took to Carla, Maddy’s nurse. She comes across as a very wise mother-hen character, with plenty of charm, and I preferred her to Maddy’s own mother. As the story unfolds, we learn what happened to Maddy’s father and brother, and we see other side characters in Olly’s family and friends. We don’t get much page time with anyone other than the main characters, and at times I wish there had have been more interaction or insight, but then that wouldn’t have reflected Maddy’s isolation half as well.
Maddy and Olly’s relationship did seem to move pretty fast, bearing in mind I’m reviewing this book without the benefit of the illustrations, so I’m not sure if they would have given me more insight? I guess I overlooked the speed of the relationship because first-love/infatuation can be incredibly quick-paced, and it didn’t bother me much while I was reading the book, I was too absorbed in Maddy and where the story was going.
This book very much focuses on the idea of a sheltered life half-lived versus a risk-fuelled full life, and questions if it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. These elements of the book were poignant and significant. There is a major plot twist in this story, that I can’t talk about without giving anything away, but I did consider it from about halfway through the novel. Even though I sensed it coming, I’m glad Yoon took this route, but I did think its execution felt somewhat unfinished, and I would have liked it to have been fleshed out more.
Overall, even with the minor issues I had, I really enjoyed this read. I finished it in one sitting, and I struggled to believe it was a debut. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.
“I was trying so hard to find the single pivotal moment that set my life on its path. The moment that answered the question, ‘How did I get here?’ But it’s never just one moment. It’s a series of them. And your life can branch out from each one in a thousand different ways.
“I turn in his arms, thinking how quickly it’s become my favourite place in the world. Familiar, foreign, comforting, and thrilling all at once.”
“Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything.”
Have you read Everything, Everything? What did you make of this debut read? Let me know in the comments!