Review: “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

Wow, what a quick read. I seriously didn’t expect to finish this book as quick as I did, but alas, here I am, lol. Truthfully, this book has been on my radar since I first heard rave reviews a few months back. I saw it everywhere on #bookstagram, and then to see that it’s being turned into a movie (check out the trailer!), and the author will also be at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. I decided it was time to finally pick up this book.

everything-everythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: September 1, 2015
Length: 306 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.”

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My verdict: it’s cute but not…life-changing. At least, not for me, and that’s where the reader’s interpretation comes into play, as it does with nearly every book that’s rated differently. In the end, I felt sorry for Madeline’s mom. Unfortunately, she took her grief and her lonely solace out on her daughter.

Truthfully, I felt a lot of things in this book were surface-level. I actually wanted the book to be longer. I wanted more of Maddy and Olly together. I wanted more history of her mother, and even a bit more about the nurse, Carla. It felt like everything was cut short and we only get brief snippets. Despite that, my favorite part of this book was the middle–how Maddy finally took control of her own life. Granted, she also faced the consequences, but it’s funny how life works sometimes, even in fiction–how one person can come into your life and change things, sometimes for the better or the worse. In Maddy’s case, I think it’s a little bit of both, but more on the better. She was finally able to see her mother for who she truly was, and it was nice to see that her mother was able to get help, too. My “happy ending” version is that things truly end happily.

Another thing I also found enjoyable was the format of the book and the adorable drawings. I love contemporary books in this way because it makes the book different and fun to read. I feel as if it also adds depth to certain characters by giving us a sneak peak into how the character is outside of their narration.

What I have to keep in mind though is that this is fiction–completely made-up. Because other than that, I’m not sure I can account for Maddy and Olly’s rash decision. I mean, I feel as if parents would be more concerned? I don’t know. Maybe I’m thinking too deeply into this, especially since Olly’s parents are the way that they are. I’m glad there was a bit of resolution and closure for them.

Here’s one of the things I did notice: Olly wears a rubber band around his wrist and flicks at it every once in a while. As a recovered self-harmer, this was a tactic suggested to me by a therapist in an attempt to stop self-harming. Something about the quick stick of the rubber band hitting the wrist… Anyways, I had hoped the author would dive deeper with this, but she didn’t, and so it seemed like just a quirk, though it’s mentioned again several times as the book progresses.

Now for something that’s bothered me since I saw the trailer, and I don’t know if you guys would consider this spoilers as it doesn’t really reveal any plot in the book but… In the book, Maddy is half-African-American and half-Japanese. Her mother is Japanese. In the movie trailer, she is not. I feel a bit bad complaining about this but… Really? Was it too hard to find an Asian actor or too hard to convince the audience that the character cast as Maddy was half-Asian? Perhaps I’ll figure it out if I see the movie.

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