Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This review will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read Everything, Everything, you should stay away. Seriously.
I went into this book knowing pretty much nothing about it. I knew that it had a nice cover and upcoming film. I also had a basic idea of the plot.
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.*
I had really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, there was a lot that I loved. On the other hand, I found the twist pretty predictable and some of it just felt lacking.
First of all, I love the way that this book is laid out. It’s like a collection of documents, emails, diary entries, and general musings of a normal teenage girl. I really liked the illustrations — they really added to the mood of the book and complimented the story. The fact that Yoon’s husband was the illustrator was just so dang sweet.
Maddy is a dreamy character — she has her books and her Tumblr blog and is pretty satisfied with her life. She’s a pretty normal kid, except for the fact that she’s allergic to the world and going outdoors would potentially kill her. You know, normal teenage stuff. Her life gets turned upside down by Ollie, the boy who moves in next door. I liked Maddy — despite her unique condition she’s still a normal teenager that the reader can relate to. Ollie, on the other hand, was a pretty forgettable character. He was nice and lovely, but that’s about all I can say. He’s got his parkour, he’s got his bad family life, but I felt like he had no depth or dimension. Ollie felt like a plot device to drive Maddy’s story forward.
So, here’s my biggest issue of the book. Unfortunately, I guessed the twist in Everything, Everything before I even picked it up. Maybe it’s my interest in true crime — if you haven’t heard the incredibly sad and upsetting story of Gypsy Rose Blancharde you can read all about it here — or maybe it was just so glaringly obvious. I spent the entire novel waiting for the big reveal to happen and it felt really anticlimactic. I think I was expecting more of a ‘HOLY SHIT’ moment when it was revealed that Maddy wasn’t sick at all. It think part of my issue is that it happened so close to the end that it didn’t feel resolved. I would have loved to have seen more of the post-reveal interaction between Maddy and her mother, especially regarding the issues that would stem from trapping your daughter in her own home for eighteen years and making her think that she could die at any moment. I suppose that delving into deep psychological issues probably isn’t the right content for this kind of YA book.
Overall, I did enjoy reading Everything, Everything and I tore through it pretty quick. My weird brain that would really have enjoyed the psychological effects on Maddy’s relationship with her mother wasn’t satisfied, but I think that’s a ‘me’ thing.
If you’ve read Everything, Everything, what did you think? Did you guess the twist? I’d love to know!
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads