Title: Everything Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”
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. – Excerpt from Goodreads.
I thought this book was a nice read. I will probably remember it for awhile. I read the book in one sitting.
There will be major spoilers in this review.
I think this is a great debut book for Nicola Yoon. It shows a lot of promise. I should say that I don’t have a ton of experience with reading contemporary, I’m almost a bit snotty about it, but this year I’m trying to broaden my reading scope and I’m so glad I have. It’s really shown me that I have no clue what I’m talking about half the time when I turn my nose up at other genres. The new genres I’ve been trying more and more lately have really had me eating my own words lately.
This book is a fast read. I read it in one sitting, took me maybe two hours. It’s actually too fast, this book really needed to slow down a bit. We didn’t learn ANYTHING about the real illness, which I always think is a shame. The characters were endearing all the same though. I’m still trying to grasp why I liked these teens so much. I think I related to her feeling of isolation, since I live with chronic illness. The book is cheesy, there are some parts that might make you roll your eyes. I, for the most part, was smiling. I enjoyed seeing Madeline so happy and felt devastated for her when she was broken. I think that is a good sign to a great book, no?
I did see the twist ending coming fairly early on. Things were way too fishy for me and too much didn’t make any sense. I knew very early on that Madeline wasn’t really sick and I wasn’t 100% sure on the mother’s motives until the reveal. The author made me feel deeply for the mother, my heart pretty much broke for her. I would’ve like to have seen her illness explored a little more and explained a little better. I think it would’ve given even more understanding to the character. The mother seemed to be suffering from Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy, at least in some form. I think they mentioned PTSD and depression as well. I’m glad that they did show the physical consequences to her mother keeping her locked up for the world like that. Her immunity system would be very comprised and to have her running and playing like nothing would be 100% unrealistic. Leaving her house and being exposed to all the elements so quickly would end in a potentially dangerous health situation for Maddie. We get a little taste of what Maddie is going to eventually be going through mentally for a very long time. Though it’s really hard to say exactly just how damaged she will be. I guess it’s for us to decide if her ending will be a happy one or one trapped in illness. I feel like the ending pulled me in different directions and I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. I was happy and sad I guess, all in one moment.
There has been some talk about this book having problematic elements in it. Mostly not being realistic about chronic illness. I would have agreed with this sentiment possibly if it wasn’t for the fact that she wasn’t really sick. She was being isolated, yes. However, there wasn’t anything stealing all her energy or causing her great amounts of pain. Some felt it was a slap in the face to imply that people with chronic illness acting like if they just push and want it enough than it will be fine. I personally didn’t feel the book gave this message. It showed the consequences of her attempting to go out – it didn’t end up perfectly fine for her. If she had been very sick than I might have been harder on this book. Just to add, no I don’t think the illnesses were 100% authentic or explained properly. I see that as a bit of a failing in this book but I also wasn’t offended by it. That is just my opinion on the topic though.
I don’t think this book will be for everyone and like I said, this book has some glaring flaws. However, I think a lot of people will love this one and be shocked by the end. If you like contemporary, then I’d recommend trying this one out.