Book Review|Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you”

“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”

“One thing I’m certain of: wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.”

Maddy is allergic to the world and has spent her entire life isolated. Vigilantly protected by her physician mother and her private nurse, Maddy has no interaction with the outside world. Enter the cute, funny, new next-door neighbor boy.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a young adult novel written in first person present tense and moves along at a fast pace. I liked Yoon’s writing style and the story hook.

I was surprised at how short this book felt. It was a quick, easy read, except for moments of unbelievability that broke the flow of the story. I kept tripping over inconsistencies and had to  re-read passages. Olly, Maddy’s love interest, is a character I enjoyed reading about. He is cute, funny, and has his own baggage. The interplay between the two characters unfolds beautifully and the romance hits just the right note.

I liked the message of the need to take risks and to live your own life. While I could not connect with the main character, I think many young teen girls relate to Maddy and the idea of being confined or isolated, kept apart from the things they desire. What teenager doesn’t feel as if they are somehow outside of the norm?

 

I had to wonder what happened to all of Maddy’s friends. There was a mention of her online friends, and then we never hear from them. In Maddy’s situation, I would assume she would be in online support groups. It seemed a stretch that Maddy bought into her mother’s delusion without question. With a minimum of research, Maddy would have been able to figure out the inconsistencies and become suspicious that she was not really sick. I felt the nurse should have caught on as well, so this part of the story didn’t work for me.

The idea that someone who is ill lives a life completely separated as bubble people from the world and will never find love is annoying. In the story, Maddy is doomed until we find out that she is not really disabled. All along the illness has been a figment of her mother’s imagination. Maddy is “normal” and therefore now she can have a “normal” relationship with the boy she loves. I didn’t care for the message here.  I would make sure to point this out to my teen if they read this book, and affirm that people who have medical conditions or disabilities often find love. I would have rather seen them find a way to overcome, instead of the solution being that illness did not exist.

The teen romance is well written, and the conflict between parent and child echoes typical relationship issues. I read the book in one evening. The storyline was interesting and my attention never flagged. You might like this book if you enjoy short, contemporary teen romances.

 

Issues of concern

Profanity, sex, deception, illness, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, Munchhausen syndrome, mental illness.

 

 

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