Everything, Everything is the debut work of Nicola Yoon. It is the coming-of-age story of young Madeline Whittier, a seventeen-year-old girl who has never stepped out of her house because she is allergic to the world.
She suffers from a rare form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, which makes her extremely susceptible to infections, and any exposure can be fatal. Confined to her home, her mother (a doctor) and nurse Carla are her only companions. She lives in a sterilized house, with air-filters, air-lock at the door and all. The mum and daughter are extremely close. Having lost her brother and father in an accident, Madeline has no other relatives.
Her life revolves around books, assignments, submissions and game nights with her mother till the day a family moves in to the house next door. That’s when Madeline’s life takes a turn.
An unlikely friendship develops between Madeline and her new neighbour Olly; a boy her age. The friendship, courtesy of a bundt cake suicide! The episode is cute and hilarious…
Olly and Maddy’s interactions start from across the window, and then move on to emails, IM and finally in person.
With the newfound friendship, Madeline experiences desires she has never felt before. She dreams of a world outside of her bubble world. While I felt happy for her, I couldn’t help feeling sad for her mother.
Maddy runs away with Olly to Hawaii. The escapade not only shows her the outside world but also reveals an important aspect of her life, her disease and her identity. The twist is so unexpected and shocking. But after the twist, it’s a rushed ending. The conclusion left me wanting for more.
I loved the illustrations, charts, and little notes. They are cute and realistic and help us know Maddy in great detail and understand her feelings.
Maddy and Olly make an adorable couple. Their dialogues are cute, and the romance is not slushy or over-the top.
Maddy, her mother, Olly are all characters from our daily lives. They are not flawless; they have their own quirks, fears and insecurities.
Everything Everything is not a perfect book. There are a few aspects which make one question the characters, the storyline, and the message being sent out to young readers.
“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.” I have mixed feelings about this thought. It certainly sends a strong and somewhat wrong message to younger readers. Growing up need not mean disappointing the people in our lives.
Maddy’s mother witnesses the abuse Olly and his family are facing. Despite being a doctor, she doesn’t report him. I didn’t actually give much thought to this aspect, but my daughter brought my attention to this. She asked me why was Maddie’s mother silent about this. We brain-stormed and concluded that probably the mother wanted nothing to do with cops.
Also, there is no closure regarding her mother. I know it is Madeline’s story, but to leave their relationship hanging, makes the ending unsatisfactory.
But despite these aspects, I enjoyed reading this book.
Everything, Everything is about living life, and experiencing it to the most.
It’s a beautiful first love story.
Wordsopedia rating 4/5
|Title: Everything Everything||Author: Nicola Yoon|
|Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers||Publication date: September 1, 2015|
|Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Contemporary||Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook|
|ISBN: 9780553496673||No. of Pages: 352|
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About the Author
Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient, and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Both her novels have been made into major motion pictures. Nicola grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist David Yoon, and their family.
Get in touch with the author on her website.