Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by: Delacorte Books FYR
Release date: September 1st 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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.
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.
What is Everything, Everything about? A sick girl living in a "bubble" of her own house and boy who moves next door. It is a story about how the smallest choices can change our life in the biggest way. I have a lot more to say about this debut novel so please bear with me.
In this book, you will find plenty of illustrations, diagrams, graphs, diary entries, very short chapters, etc. I have to admit that I am not a fan of such writing style/narrative. I prefer classic long doses of prose. So even though many of you can find all sorts of illustrations as bonus, I see them as disruptive elements that disturb my reading experience.
However, I was very curious about the topic of this book (SCID = Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease) and my curiosity with this untraditional and rare disease kept me hooked on the story untill the very end despite my issues with the way story was written. I have nothing to compare it with so I have no idea if heroine's life is close to reality or completely made up by author. Still, whole story had this unreal over-the-top feel to it. Bad news? I wasn't affected emotionally by Madeline's life. It felt like author touched only the tip of iceberg of potential that topic of SCID and Madeline's story suggested. I wish it could have been more detailed and longer novel. I'm sure I would have liked it better that way.
What about romance? Unfortunately, no new couple to ship for me. I wasn't a fan of romance between Madeline and Olly. The naivety Madeline showed... The risks Madeline took... For all the unique parts author tried to make me believe about heroine, Madeline was just typical lying, naive, reckless, secrets keeping teenager that got on my nerves. I know that her inexperience and conditions in which she was raised were reasons for such behavior but still. I don't have to like it even though I understood it. I simply can't cheer for romantic relationship that is unhealthy for one or both of participants. And I mean really physically unhealthy, as in "you can die because of your reckless in-love behavior".
^^^ This quote. I didn't agree with the philosophy that this novel tried to sell me. What is so great about "living" your life if you know that it is going to kill you? This book touched too many of my personal believes in a way that I was not comfortable with. Or am I too old for this kind of reckless teenage philosophy? This is YA novel in every sense that counts and it simply was not for me. Please, do not feel discouraged to read this novel. I try to be objective when reviewing, but it was somehow impossible with this book. So who knows, maybe you will feel differently about this story.
But THAT ending saved the story for me. Based on all the issues I mentioned above, I was set on giving this book 2 stars, but I decided to go for 3 stars after that unforgettable twist at the end and last couple of chapters. I had my suspicions, but THAT ending really shocked me. And I love it when story is able to surprise me so much.
Conclusion? I didn't buy the romance and l didn't cheer on characters. But premise and ending made interesting and memorable read out of it.
*ARC provided by publisher as an exchange for honest review*
Do you welcome illustrations (diary entries, charts, graphs, etc.) when reading a book or do you prefer classic narrative? Let me know in comments.