Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Modern Fiction, Romance
Source: Random House Canada
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
First Published: Sept 1, 2015
Book Description from GoodReads: This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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.
My Review: Everything, Everything is a quirky romance between two teens who are struggling with feelings of being trapped in their lives for various reasons. While it deals with some serious issues I found it to be a really quick read (I read it in one day) with some enjoyable characters and short chapters.
Romance lovers will enjoy seeing Maddy and Olly's relationship emerge. I loved the natural feel to the witty banter between them and overall it felt like a believable start to a relationship. To increase the charm and quirkiness of Maddy and Olly the author includes various illustrations, lists, diary entries, Maddy's 'Neighbourhood Watch' lists, graphs, IMs and emails. These enabled the reader to see Maddy and Olly's senses of humour, give their relationship a very modern feel and allows Maddy to act like a normal teen.
I will admit that I enjoyed the first third of the book more than the rest. I liked seeing how Maddy and Olly struggle with the lives they've been given but find solace in each other. They helped each other grow and see possibilities for their futures. But somewhere around two-thirds of the way through things got a little dicey and I wasn't fully on board with the plot. The author threw in a huge twist at the end that I didn't predict (kudos to Yoon!) but I'm still not sure that I loved it. It was a great twist but in the aftermath things were tied things up a little too nicely to be believable.
Maddy and Olly were cute main characters. I loved the diversity that Yoon gave Maddy as a Japanese/African American teen and Olly's overall charm but it was their believable banter back and forth that sold them for me. I liked them right off the bat. A better look into Olly's feelings about Maddy and his family life would have made the book even better as well as more information regarding Maddy's disease - SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease). We're given the gist of the disease (allergic to everything) but that's about it.
While I didn't agree with some of the characters' decisions overall this was an enjoyable and quick read. The short chapters, with their unique and well placed use of IMs, emails, illustrations etc, helped to give this book a nice modern feel. This was a rather quiet, subdued book. The story doesn't have a lot going on but instead it focuses on a relationship which I found to be a sweet read without being overly mushy.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Random House Canada for providing me with a hardcover copy of this book in exchange for my honest review