Publisher's description: 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.
This novel has been on my TBR list for quite some time and I made a goal to dive in during the Bout of Books readathon I participated in last week. Although I've seen this book as a fan favorite, I made it a point NOT to read any reviews on it because I wanted to experience it authentically for myself. I was a bit nervous reading it because so many people loved it and there was always that chance I'd think it was a total flop.
And alas... Everything, Everything proved to be...
The story is about Maddy (a nickname she inherits later in the story). She is a typical teenager except for the fact that there is nothing typical about her life. She has lived a life with SCID--severe combined immunodeficiency and has never stepped outside of her home. The only people that she sees are her mother, her nurse and a tutor. Although Maddy's life would be unusual to most of us, I found myself relating to her easily. She is an avid reader, has a great relationship with her mom (perhaps by default) and is very bright.
And can we give two claps for diversity in YA lit? Maddy is biracial!
Then in steps Olly. Olly is her new neighbor and is everything she isn't--rugged, unpredictable and dark. His family is dysfunctional and dealing with the hurt of an abusive and alcoholic father. Immediately, Maddy is intrigued and as the story unfolds, the two begin to exchange emails (and seriously, their emails are swoon worthy and just adorable!), then IM's and eventually get to meet in person.
But wait Jenn?! How could she see him if she's allergic to the world? Well, anyone who comes to visit Maddy has to go through an extensive decontamination process to ensure her safety. As time goes on, the inevitable happens...they fall for one another. Initially, I was conflicted by this. Maddy has never interacted with anyone her age and I was a bit skeptical about the authenticity of their "love." She didn't have anything to compare it to. But I digress and honestly... I loved the purity of their budding relationship <3
I don't want to give anything away but the TWIST the novel takes near the end is pump your brakes worthy! I did not see the novel taking the turn it took. The emotions were so beautifully and realistically described and the simplicity of Yoon's writing was as savory as it was bite size. This isn't a difficult read and honestly it was a refreshing coming of age love story that didn't seem forced.
The ending left me with my mouth open and was followed with a stupid smirk at how perfect it was.
“Everything's a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It's up to you.”
“Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end as strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite characters come back to life.”
“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”
“In my head I know I've been in love before, but it doesn't feel like it. Being in love with you is better than the first time. It feels like the first time and the last time and the only time all at once.”
PS: Can we take a moment just to appreciate the cover art? And the fact that this was Nicola Yoon's DEBUT novel and it was amaaaaaazing!? And the fact that she sent me kissy faces on Twitter?! *fist pump*
Have you read Everything, Everything? What were your thoughts?