Wednesday, 1 July 2015

'Everything, Everything' by Nicola Yoon: A Book Review

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.

NOTE: I received an ARC (advance reader copy) from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book.
Oh my God.
I just - I - I have no words. Okay, that isn't possible. I'm a writer. I have too many words. And yet I can't seem to string together a coherent sentence.

Everything, Everything tells the story of Madeline, an eighteen-year-old girl with a very rare disease known as SCID, a disease where anything and everything can trigger a fatal infection. And this is why Maddy has spent almost the entirety of her life hiding inside her air-purified, disinfected house with just her mother and a caretaker.

And she's happy with the way she lives. She has a flourishing Internet life. She's being homeschooled. She reads. She plays made-up versions of games with her mother.

She doesn't realise what's missing until she locks eyes with her new neighbour, Olly. And after that? Nothing will ever be the same.

I've never heard of this illness, and I can't imagine how horrible it could be to live a life like this. An anti-life, if you will, never being able to explore the outdoors or meet new people or try exotic cuisines without feeling the grip of death. I could never do it.

Maddy and Olly's relationship starts out slow and steady, just as it should. First, they're strangers. Then they're barely-there neighbours. Then they're just late-night IM buddies. Then they're friends who talk to each other from opposite sides of the room. Then they hold hands. Then they kiss.
And then... they fall in love, in spite of Maddy's illness, in spite of Olly's guilt, in spite of everything.

Olly, Olly, Olly. What an adorable book boyfriend he'd make. His relationship with Maddy is perfection. The way he protects her from her illness, the way her heart shatters when he's in pain... that's what real love should be like.

 This book has some the most deep and meaningful quotes I've read in a long time. Unlike a certain other diseased love story whose name I won't mention, this book makes use of metaphors and figures of speech beautifully, but without coming across as pretentious.
As I was reading on my Kindle, I couldn't help myself and ended up highlighting at least one quote every few pages. Here are some of them:

He remembered sitting at the breakfast bar and stirring the milk and chocolate together. How the chocolate turned white, and the milk turned brown, and how sometimes you can't unmix things no matter how much you might want to.

I was trying so hard to find the single pivotal moment that set my life on its path. The moment that answered the question, How did I get here? But it's never just one moment. It's a series of them. And your life can branch out from each one in a thousand different ways. Maybe there's a version of your life for all the choices you make and all the choices you don't.

He rubs his thumb across mine, tracing a path from knuckle to wrist. My skin, each individual cell, lights up. Normal, nonsick people get to do this all the time? How do they survive the sensation? How do they keep from touching all the time?

"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."

No spoilers, but there's one plot twist near the end of the book that's just so jaw-droppingly unbelievable that I had to re-read the scene a few times to convince myself that it was really happening, and that one scene changes the way you see the entire book. It shifts the focus towards those little thoughts you had at the back of your head as you read but always neglected.

Just incredible.

And the way the book ends - the wording, I mean - is utterly perfect. The parallels between the beginning and the ending are spectacular. The contrast between Maddy's over-protected bubbled life and Olly's abusive, neglected life comes across brilliantly.

I just finished reading this book, and I already can't wait to start all over again.

I'm going to go with 4.5 stars out of 5 for this one.
Everything, Everything is a heartbreaking, heartwrenching, heartwarming tale of love, friendship, family, and everything in between.

This book comes out in stores on September 1st, 2015, and I promise that you'll want to read this book. Please do read it and fall in love with it. Please.

Now, I'm going to get started with reading my next ARC, as well as continue with Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
Bye for now, book Geeks!


  1. You just sold me, I'm totally going to read this book!
    I've been in a chick-lit phase and this sounds great

    1. You really should. It's a little TFIOS, but so much better and so much more plot-twisty.

  2. Frankly, rather than the review (which was incredibly effective in its purpose, you totally sold me, kudos!) I'm more awed by the discovery that something like ARC exists in this world. xD
    I'm certain my life will be now dedicated to understanding this new discovery and try and coax the folks there to give me a copy or two. ��
    Anyway, nice review. In the words of the great Bobby Byrd(old singer guy, you won't know him) "Keep doin watchu doin."

    1. Haha! I knew about ARCs for a while now, thanks to the disclaimers on Goodreads reviews, but I always thought they were for the elite class of book bloggers or that you needed an agent to represent you or something.
      I finally got off my ass and did some research this year, and BAM! Free books.

      Thanks for reading. :D


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