Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon {book review}

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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.

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Like Maddy, I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that something can make you feel so many conflicting emotions at the same time. Anger and joy. Sadness and helplessness and hope. Everything, Everything made me feel all these things and so many more, but beyond all, it made me feel a love so deep (for the wonderful characters, the captivating plot and the lovely writing Nicola Yoon used to bring them to life) that I won’t even try to delude myself into thinking a simple review can encompass it all. But, for the sake of this book and my love for it, I will try to put in words as best as I can how much I enjoyed it and how much I recommend it to all of you.

‘Everything, Everything’ is a young adult contemporary romance that at first glance may seem your typical ‘Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy and they live happily ever after’ love story. Yes, it’s this and it’s not at the same time. Nicola Yoon paints this story in so many layers and yet, she delivers it in a simple, but beautiful way. Love it’s at its best in this novel. Romantic love, love for your family, for yourself and for life in general.

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Although diagnosed with an extremely rare disease that doesn’t allow her to leave the house, eighteen year old Madeline Whittier is content with her life. She finds comfort in her books, in the game nights with her mother and in Carla’s daily presence, her nurse and her closest friend. That is until a family moves next door and she meets Olly. Along with their new-found friendship comes the desire to experience life as one should. She wants to see the world, go to school, visit new places, make new friends. Most of all, she wants Olly.

I was happy before I met him. But I’m alive now, and those are not the same thing.

I found the contrast between Madeline’s strong desire to go out in the world and the desire to stay inside that most people have nowadays to be very striking and eye-opening. This made me appreciate life and the endless possibilities it has to offer more, it made me see the world with different eyes and it only made my love for our protagonist grow.

Maddy is one of the best protagonists I’ve ever read about. Her optimism is contagious, her determination astounding and her capacity to love wholly and trust blindly heartwarming. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also a book blogger! I love how passionate she is about books, how she uses her short spoiler reviews to make parallels between certain concepts and her life.

Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything.
Olly also plays a great part in the story, but I felt as though he was a bit eclipsed by Maddy. He’s funny, witty and smart and you can’t help but root for them to end up together. I liked how well they complement each other, she with her love for literature and her positive outlook on life, him with his inclination toward science and his realistic way of thinking. They couldn’t be more different and still, it is their differences that bring them together and make their relationship dynamics so interesting to read about.
The only thing I know for sure is that this, being here with Olly, being able to love him and be loved by him, is everything.
Family wise, I think this novel portrays very well parental love and relationships between siblings, but also domestic abuse and family conflicts. While I didn’t personally like Maddy’s mother, I loved their relationship (until a certain point in the book). I appreciated how she cared for her daughter, even if she made some questionable decisions. Carla, on the other side, was everything you could want from an adult figure. She was sweet and understanding, kind and funny. She also has a very important piece of advice and constantly makes sure that Maddy follws it:
 Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.
Another thing that makes this story such an important read is the diversity. We have characters from many different races and Maddy herself is biracial. But Nicola Yoon doesn’t explore diversity only in race, but mentality and culture.
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Nicola Yoon’s way of telling this story will make you fly through it. Besides the usual blocks of text we also have drawings ( made by Nicola Yoon’s husband, David Yoon- some serious marriage goals!), IMs and emails and handwritten notes. I loved the writing style, it was very poetic, but not over the top and it has some of the most beautiful quotes I’ve read.
It’s a hard concept to hold on to–the idea that there was a time before us. A time before time.
In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.
The sentences are short, yet powerful. This type of writing style can sometimes be tricky, but the author did it in such a gorgeous way that I had to close the book a few times and marvel at what I just read.
I enjoyed the plot for the most part, but I still have conflicting feelings about the ending. Not the plot twist, which seems to be most people’s problem but the actual ending. I felt things were a bit rushed and I would have liked some closure between some of the characters. Overall, a bittersweet ending to a bittersweet story.
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I loved Everything, Everything for its honesty. I loved it for the diversity and for the great cast of characters. I loved it for the magnificent writing style and the unique way of delivering the story. I loved it because there is nothing not to love in this heartfelt story about love, life and how far we’re willing to go to experience them both.
I loved it and I think you will to, so stop what you’re doing and go pick this book up right now!
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★ ★ ★ ★ ½

 

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