Everything, Everything Review
Rating: ✭✭✭ (3.75)
Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Illness
Publication: September 2015
Format: Arc E-galley (and a personal copy), 306 Pages
Source: Thanks to Penguin Random House Children's Publishers for sending me a copy of this novel to review.
"We are joined and I know all the secrets of the universe."
- Madeline Whittier, 225
Everything, Everything is about Madeline Whittier, a unique, Afro-Asian, 18 year old with SCID - Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, an extremely rare disease that basically means she is allergic to the world. She is a "bubble baby" and is shielded from the outside world; confined in her white walled house ever since she was young and Madeline has never had a problem with it until Olly arrives. Olly is the tall, charming and handsome boy who just moved next door with his family. He is smart and fun, risk-taking and adventurous, and he has shaken Madeline's world into an ocean of desire and adventure.
My absolute favourite part of this book was the way Nicola Yoon composed the story. As well as general narrative, Everything, Everything was written in a 'multi-media' format with small illustrations, lists, IM sessions and "spoiler reviews". I thought this was a fun element that captured my full attention and left me hanging onto every last word. Nicola Yoon also writes in a wonderful fluid prose at a good pace that was easy to follow and understand; I never got caught up or had to pause for a moment to register what was going on. Each relationship throughout the novel was written each in it's own and showed development throughout the story; there may have been the slightest hint of instalove but it was definitely made up for as the book went on.
Initially, I thought I was going to adore everything, everything (see what I did there?) about this book and I was, right up until the last 15% of the book. I was extremely disappointed with 'twist' at the end. It just felt tacked on and underdeveloped and it didn't really mesh well with the beginning premise of the story. The plot was also too generic. There was nothing unique or fancy about it. At times, I thought it was unrealistic and stretched a bit too far over the 'tried-too-hard' side of plots in literature. The plot was mostly, and really only, the problem I thought the book had, which is why I rated Everything, Everything with only 3.75 stars.
Nicola Yoon presents each character and their relationships in an enticing way. They were so interesting and sweet to read about. Each character was quite unique too, especially Maddy who I thought was incredibly relatable. Her personality really shone through the novel and I especially loved her personal definitions and spoiler reviews. The culturally diverse character of Madeline, who is an Afro-Asain American, was a great hit for me and this aspect interested me as it is quite often rare in most novels. Olly and Maddy's relationship was a little bit of instalove at first, like I mentioned before, but transitioned into a great relationship development that was fun to read. I really enjoyed the witty conversations that had over IM.
Overall, Everything, Everything was a sweet, romantic and light-hearted read that I was able to get through in one sitting. As disappointing as the ending was, I really connected with the characters and loved the way Nicola Yoon wrote the novel. Good moral messages were also present in the novel about family, love and risk-taking and I would definitely recommend this as a spring/summer contemporary read.