Title: Everything Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
My rating: 3.75/5
Goodreads rating: 4.04/5
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publisher: Delacorte Books
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.
This was a very hyped up debut in 2015 and I actually bought this book in 2015, but I just didn’t feel interested in it. But then in 2016, I was yearning for some simple, fluffy contemporary and this book was just calling for me. It took me an evening to finish this book as it is only over 300 pages and some of the chapters are just doodles or one sentences. I was pretty surprised by this debut. I didn’t think that it would be rubbish, but not great either but it was just that. Great.
Maddy has this really complicated disease that means that she can not leave her house, in fear that something in the outside world might trigger a server reaction. Maddy has been content with her, admittedly uninteresting but safe life inside, but that all changes when the super interesting and mysterious Olly becomes her neighbor and starts to make her wonder if there is anything more to life than her house.
I enjoyed reading this story. Though I didn’t become that attached to the story overall, the plot was nice, light and quick. I liked how Yoon built up Maddy’s closed life a bit before heading straight to the insta-love. Yes, you read correctly, insta-love, but more on that later. The plot moved fast and though it doesn’t seem like it needed anything more, I feel like the story could of been beefed up more. We have the occasional bits of backstory or info but main thing in this book is romance, so we got a lot of it. I think unconsciously I guessed the plot twist, so when it came out, I wasn’t stone shocked, but I think I reacted a little. Some people didn’t like it, some loved it, but I’m in the middle. I appreciated the twist, but of course it help set up the perfect ending.
Like the plot, the writing was nice, light and quick. It was really smooth as well and I can’t pin point any jarring moments during the book. Then again, it was a average in the world of YA. Nothing to ring home about, but it had a lot of promise. I look forward to the next book Yoon comes out to see if the writing has gotten any more sharper. She did come up with some brilliant lines though, that seem to be dotted about in the novel.
“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.”
Maddy was a likable protagonist. I love the fact that Yoon added a splash of diversity to her (she is Afro- Asian) which she really didn’t have to do, but she did, which is hugely appreciated. Maddy is smart, forward and naturally curious about everything about the world which is understandable. Her character didn’t really come off the page, but because the book is so fast, I don’t think I minded.
Olly didn’t get any major characterisation, he was more of a plot device for Maddy to use to realise she wanted more from her life. I don’t know if I liked his whole abusive father storyline as it seemed like a weak attempt to give him something.
I hated the insta-love. Though I knew it was coming, I stupidly thought that it wouldn’t happen and of course it did. The descriptions about Olly’s whole Ollyness was eye-roll worthy and typical YA. I mean, how can I a person’s eyes be Atlantic or Pacific blue? Some compliments were cute but others definitely weren’t.
The relationship between Maddy and her mother was interesting, but it should have been developed more as the whole plot twist is centered around the latter.
What I liked:
- The story was quick and light
- The writing was smooth to follow
- The protagonist was likable
What I disliked:
- The insta-love
- Olly was basically a plot device
- The writing was mostly average
- More page time should have been dedicated to Maddy and her mother
Verdict: If you want a fluffy, quick contemporary, this book is your book. There is nothing spectacular about it, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. The whole book reeked of typical YA and insta-love but I was in the mood for it I think and I can’t complain about that. There is no denying that this is a solid debut though!