Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015)
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Reading Time: 08/03/17 – 12/03/17
I read this book only because I read The Sun is Also a Star and absolutely LOVED it and also because I had seen the film trailer I wanted to read the book first. So I went into this having a good idea of what it was about and what to expect from the author. I have to say that I was disappointed with this book in comparison to Yoon’s other novel. I was expecting more hard hitting sorrows and decisions, but instead everything seemed to go as was expected.
We have our two main characters, Maddy and Olly, who have a relationship through a window, because Maddy has an extremely weak immune system and has not been able to go outside since she was a baby. So instantly this is a unique situation, this cannot be a normal love story, and yet somehow it still becomes one. Everything I thought would happen in this book, did. The saving grace was how the last fifty or so pages went, and this pulled Everything, Everything up from a two star review to three.
I was very intrigued by Maddy’s illness, probably because we got very limited information about it which just made me ask more and more questions. I gave the condition a google and found out that Maddy has a very weak immune system that means she gets ill easier and more severely than a normal person. Immediately I was thinking about all of the possible situations that must be a challenge for Maddy, if she were to have a visitor they would have to be decontaminated and would have to be sure they hadn’t been around someone who was ill within three days, or something to that effect. Now for me this was annoyingly handled, because Maddy’s mum is a doctor who still works full time, how can she guarantee she hasn’t come into contact with germs she could pass onto Maddy? So this raised my first warning flag.
*Spoilers up ahead, look away or forever be spoiled….*
When Maddy runs away to Hawaii she goes a day or two without feeling ill at all and has been lying to Olly about some pills she has been taking. At this point I don’t know if they trip is about Maddy trying to live her life how she wants to, or about finding out whether she is truly sick. But anyway, she gets ill and is checked into a hospital and low and behold down the line we realise that she isn’t sick and she never has been!
I enjoyed the book from this point onwards, the idea that Maddy’s mum had been hiding something from her, her whole life, and she was in-fact not mentally stable, added a new element into the story. I was getting sick of this book being a love story, I needed more! I found myself thinking about how Maddy must be feeing knowing that her mum had kept her isolated her whole life and suddenly she could be free, she could be herself. I am dying for this girl to splash a bit of colour into her life, everything in their house is white – she needs to brighten things up!
Of course Maddy used her new found freedom to escape her mum’s grasp and to go to find Olly. I roll my eyes at the gushingly cliche ending to this, but I am glad she had the confidence to live her life a little. Although I do feel very sorry for her mum, she was so terrified of losing her daughter that she shaded her from the world and now that is the very thing that has cost her the relationship.
I guess for what this was, a short, contemporary, romance, it was fine. I think perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this kind of a book. The writing was decent and I enjoyed the weird format, but the story itself did nothing to grip me until the end.