I would like to start out this review by saying that there are spoilers in it.
Read at your own risk.
If you have not finished Everything, Everything, bookmark this and read it when you have finished the book.
Seriously, I tell you the ending.
Okay, I think I have warned you enough.
One more time: IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING AND DO NOT WISH TO HAVE THE ENDING SPOILED FOR YOU PLEASE LOOK AWAY. THIS REVIEW WILL STILL BE HERE WHEN YOU ARE DONE.
I’m done warning you, it is now your fault if you ruin the ending for yourself.
Review of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
I FREAKING KNEW IT! I knew she wasn’t really sick. I called it! No one with SCID can leave their house for multiple days and not die immediately.
With that being said, I loved this book. It was a cute love story at its base, but an accurate case study on trauma victims at its core.
The story is about an 18 year old girl, Madeline, with a rare and serious disease (SCID). Anything can trigger her illness/allergies and cause her harm or death. She has lived in her “bubble” house for about 18 years with her mother as her doctor and a nurse that comes over during the day. She goes about her life reading, taking online classes, dreaming of the outside world, and reading (Did I mention reading? She reads a lot). One day, a family moves in next door. The family includes a mother, an abusive father, a nicotine addicted daughter, and a parkour loving son. Because it is a YA novel, you can assume correctly that she falls in love with the parkour loving son, Olly. They start emailing and their love grows stronger, even though they have never had a face-to-face conversation. Until one day, her nurse, Carla, decides that it is not a big deal if he comes over, as long as he is sanitized and they do not touch. This happens a few times in secret until her mother finds out. Carla is fired and Maddie’s emailing privileges are revoked, which only adds kindle to their ever-growing love fire (obviously). She can’t stand her solitude anymore, fakes a story about experimental drugs, and runs away to Hawaii with Olly. *This is where my suspect of her imaginary illness starts to form. How
can she be on a plane, an enclosed petri-dish, without triggering something?!* Everything is fine for about a day and then she takes a turn for the worse and she needs to be rushed to the hospital. Her mother is already fuming and on her way to Hawaii when Maddie has some sort of attack. She wakes up back in her bed with her mother constantly checking on her. Olly moves away with his mom and sister (not the abusive father, yay!), and Maddie starts to hate everything, everything. (Do you see what I did there? It’s the title of the novel). One day, she gets an email from one of the doctors who helped her in Hawaii saying that she might not even have SCID. Maddie searches for the truth and her mother is of little to no help to her, but to the audience her mother is quickly unraveling. She keeps saying that SCID is rare and unique, this doctor doesn’t know anything and should not be emailing false information. While she is spouting this, she never answers the question: where are the test results? Fed up with her mother’s lack of a response she finds a second opinion, a doctor who specializes in the disease. He confirms that she is, in fact, not sick but her immune system is severely underdeveloped, which is why she had a cardiac episode in Hawaii. We find out that Maddie was “diagnosed” a week after her father and brother were killed in a car crash. Her mother experienced this huge loss that blocked something in her brain. She did literally everything she could to prevent anything bad from happening to her, now, only member of her family. Maddie is her mother’s whole life and it would have severely unraveled if anything bad happened. Maddie cannot seem to fully forgive her mother and eventually ends up leaving. The end of the story brings us to New York, in a used bookstore near Olly’s new house. After not speaking/emailing for almost a year the two are reunited like nothing bad ever happened. The end.
Why I like this book so much:
- The structure. I thought the structure of this books was really cool. It was like a diary with snippets from things Maddie created, like her own dictionary, book reviews, and book stickers that say “if found, return to…”
- The writing. You can tell that the narrator is a very well-read 18 year old. Some of the things that Maddie says are very hormone driven and sometimes irrational (to a 26 year old ear) but to an 18 year old, these things are completely justified. Even sick teenagers have hormones and don’t know how to deal with them.
- The character development. We discover so many things about Olly, Carla, the mother, and even Olly’s mom even though Maddie is the narrator. The reader can pick up on so many subtle clues that “narrator Maddie” can’t explain, because she is not omniscient. As readers, we can infer those subtle clues and turn them into a characterization of the person she is talking about.
- The love story. It’s simple, it’s cute, it’s not realistic in the slightest (in my opinion), but it’s adorable. It’s just a nice feel-good story.
- The relationships between the characters. Her relationship with her mom is so pure and untarnished (but also, see why I don’t like it below).
- The voice acting. I listened to this on audible. The voices were perfect, especially the fact that Olly’s emails are read in a boy’s voice. The reader was clear and her voice flowed with the tone. Excitement was read quickly and with choppy accents on words while calmness was read at a slower pace. I thought it enhanced the book so much because you could hear it and put a sort of face/voice to the name.
Why I do not like this book:
- It was fast. The audio book was only 5 hours, which is actually really short. The story was fast too: they met, they fell in love, the end. As an English Teacher, I’m fine with this because I can analyze every minute detail of a book until the analysis is substantially longer than the original text and that makes it seem longer, but not everyone is an English Teacher.
- Her relationship with her mother. I understand she is an 18 year old girl, but her angst was palpable. Her mother is clearly going through an 18 year psychotic break after the death of her husband and first born, HAVE SOME SYMPATHY.
I give Everything, Everything an 8 out of 10.
Did you like the structure and story of Everything, Everything? Why? Why not?