March 29, 2017
“I was happy before I met him. But I’m alive now, and those are not the same thing.” ― Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything
Sometimes, risks are worth it.
WOW. What a whirlwind of a novel, ladies and gents. I just finished the beautiful book that is “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon and let me tell you that I haven’t read a book that has made me smile THIS MUCH in a long time. The book follows Madeline Whittier an eighteen year old girl who, for her entire life, has struggled with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency or just: SCID. It is a rare disease that leaves the immune system very vulnerable to infectious diseases. Basically, if Maddy were to go outside, she could get very sick and most likely die. For seventeen years, she had never gone outside, but now she is willing to risk it.
When a new family moves in next door, Maddy meets Olly, a parkour enthusiast that comes from a troubled family. Olly peaks Maddy’s interest immediately and the two spark a friendship. Their relationship grows and grows throughout the novel and what I loved most about it was that even though at times their connection seemed rushed, it was also so pure and natural. Maddy’s emotions were always out there for us to see and she never held anything back. At times, Maddy reminded me of Eleanor from “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. Both characters are very raw and very real and I found myself connecting to Maddy a lot.
Yes, this book features a sick young girl, but this book is way more than just her sickness. It is about her drive to see the world and how much she wants to share it with Olly. Maddy is willing to risk her life to see the ocean, to see skyscrapers, to kiss in the rain, hell to even see her front yard without having a piece of glass between her and the world she so desperately wants.
The way this book is structured is unique on its own. Some chapters are one sentence and others just have drawings. The dialogue, at least some of it, between Olly and Maddy is written like text messages just with their name and then the line. For example:
“Maddy: What colour are your eyes?
Madeline: Be more specific please” – Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything
I found this unique format to be refreshing and it made the novel a lot more interesting to read. I love books that don’t go the traditional route when it comes to composition and I commend Yoon for that.
The relationship between Maddy and her mother at times reminded me of my own relationship with my mother. There’s this everlasting aura of protectiveness and security between them and over time you get to see why that is. The way the story unfolded was not what I was expecting, but in the end, the novel opened up and showed the bigger picture, WHICH I WAS NOT EXPECTING.
The entirety of the novel was a page turner. I was giddy at times and then a bit sad and then back to giddy. Let’s just say my emotions were all over the place! Not really shocked, are we? Didn’t think so. The relationship between the two main characters was really special. It wasn’t over the top or cheesy, it just showed a beautiful connection that I think we all want in life. It wasn’t a sick girl and a wayward angry teen, it was just Maddy and Olly and I loved it.
I think that a lot of people who want to read this may turn away and think of it as another “The Fault in our Stars”, but I can assure you that this is a happy book. It will make you laugh and smile and think. If you are a bit of a timid person and don’t really know where your life is headed, read this and I think it will help. For me, it made me want to sit outside, explore the natural world, and breathe in fresh air all day. It is definitely a Summer/Spring book that I think will touch a lot of people’s hearts.
Not only are the characters brilliant, but there is a simplicity to them that allows the reader to project a little of themselves into each one. I saw bits of myself in Maddy, Olly, Carla, and even her mother. When an author is able to connect with a reader like that, it says something. I give this book 5/5 stars and will be looking into Nicola Yoon’s other work as I have heard amazing things! This book was brought to my attention through the trailer of the film and even though I have complete faith that it will do the book justice, I think you should read the book first. As always. I’ll re-read this book again, I know it! I have definitely found a new favourite!
To all the risk takers!