*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk*
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Adults
Edition: UK Paperback, 310 pages
Synopsis: Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?
Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.
If you have read my list of Overrated YA Novels, you will probably already know my general opinion regarding Everything Everything. To me, this was one of the most overrated novels of 2015, with its hype even moving into latter end of 2016. It’s not a bad book by any means, it’s just not worth the excessive hype it received. I did take pleasure in reading the book, especially when I considered that this is Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, however, it is difficult to pinpoint why I enjoyed this read.
Firstly, I appreciate Yoon’s handling of an ever present threat. Maddy is allergic to the world, so, from page one, you feel the unnerving anticipation of her allergy taking over. Much like the case with August Flynn in This Savage Song, you are constantly waiting for something to go wrong. For August, it is him giving into his monstrous instinct; for Maddy, it is her allergy taking over. And, this ever present threat keeps you hooked – it certainly kept me turning the pages for the majority of the book.
However, this did get a little tedious after 200 pages of a romance novel. I fully understand that Yoon explores more than the romance aspect during this novel, however, the other story elements appear forced and basic. Additionally, I managed to guess the ‘shocking’ revelation. It wasn’t difficult. And, sadly this ruined the tension created by the constant anticipation of something going wrong.
*Skip this paragraph if you do not wish to figure out the revelation*
Another unfortunate aspect that kept nagging at me during my read, is the plausibility of the entire set up. Frankly, it is not plausible. How did Maddy stay happily in that house for 17 years? Why had she never rebelled before? How does she have the funds to do what she does when she finally rebels? From the beginning of the story, we know her allergy has not acted up in years. Surely, she would begin to question that. But no, she remained content that entire time. And, other people would surely look into it, right? Like, doctors and her nurse? But no, no one thought anything was suspicious.
Despite the above, I read this book in 8 hours, so something must have hooked me for that time. Maybe, I was waiting to see what all the hype was about.
Admittedly, this is my first time reading from the point of view of a character of colour. My typical reads are filled with white heroines and side characters, with very little in terms of diversity, so having Maddy as a main protagonist was a welcome change. Plus, Olly was also not white, meaning we finally have a piece of literature where the main female protagonist isn’t saved by the charm white boy. Yoon perfectly indicates how simple and easy it is to implement more diversity into literature.
Maddy was a well developed central character, who happens to be an avid reader – I do adore when protagonists are avid readers. Despite that, I developed no connect with her or Olly, the romantic interest. Olly seemed to be lacking a depth to his character that could have made him more than just the romantic interest. But, he comes across as a pretty face with little to no personality.
This book has a charm to it that is simple but effective. Olly and Maddy communicate through IMs and some of the messages are pretty funny. Plus, the chapter headings are inventive and a welcome change from the usual boring headings. This novels main message is: Live life to the fullest; a key message that may influence many readers.
My favourite quote: “Doesn’t that book always make you cry?” “One day it won’t, I want to be sure to be reading it on that day.”
Overall, this read didn’t live up to the impossible hype as the character’s were basic and the plot wasn’t plausible. However, the writing hosts a charm that keeps you reading.
What do you think of Everything Everything? Leave a comment down below!