This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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. Hardcover, 320 pages
Published: September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Four and a half stars: An unforgettable, beautiful and moving, character driven love story that will renew your faith in YA literature.
Maddie settles in to reread another one of her books. At eighteen, Madeline has never been outside and experienced the real world. Instead, her view of the world is all done vicariously through books. Maddie has a rare disease that compromises her immune system, and thus, she can't go out in the world. Maddie has spent her entire life in a sterile environment, a bubble. Things change when a family moves in next door. Immediately, Maddie is drawn to Ollie. He is vibrant, alive and gorgeous. When Ollie and his sister come over to say hello, Maddie's mom tells them she can't see anyone, and supposedly that is the end of it. Yet, Ollie is persistent. Soon he is making silly scenes in his window to capture Maddie's attention. What follows is the beginning of a friendship that will change everything. Will Maddie be content to live in her bubble?
What I Liked:
- Wow! This book is getting a lot of high praise and buzz, and I can honestly say it is well deserved. This is a unique, heartfelt, lovely and amazing story that will make you laugh, smile and feel. The writing is refreshing, the characters are intriguing and the romance is adorable. If you are a fan of sweet, cute and charming YA romances without drama and love triangles, this is a must read.
- What set this book apart was all the funny illustrations, diagrams, emails and IM chats. I love books that incorporate different formats of communication, and this one was stuffed full of fun stuff. I loved all the quirky content!
- This is a character driven story that centers around two intriguing young adults. Maddie is an eighteen year old girl of African-American and Japanese descent. She suffers from a rare disease, SCID, which means she has a compromised immune system and anything in the real world could make her sick. Despite the fact that she has been cooped up her entire life, Maggie lives and dreams each and every day even though she is confined to her bubble. To keep her company, Maggie reads and reads, and through her books she experiences the world. What I liked about her was that she didn't sit around and feel sorry for herself, and she never sought sympathy from others either. I admired her courage and her ability to hope and dream beyond her walls. Ollie is a charming, energetic, funny and compassionate young man who loves math. Ollie's home life is difficult because his father drinks excessively and then physically and verbally abuses his family. When these two lonely souls meet, magic happens. I absolutely loved both of these characters.
- The romance is adorable. I immediately fell in love with Ollie when he decided to capture Maddie's attention with is mother's bad Bundt cake. It was so cute and funny. The two quickly form a friendship via email and chatting, I loved the dialogue between the two, and I was enchanted by the way everything unfolded. It was just right. This is a simple, straightforward romance with some unusual circumstances, but it works, and when it ignites, it is sparkles and butterflies and everything you love in a sweet, feel good YA romance. What I loved the most was that the relationship didn't revolve around looks or the dilemmas the two faced, instead it was based on a friendship that developed into something more. I especially loved that there wasn't unnecessary drama, angst or a love triangle. One of the best YA romances I have read in long time.
- Going into the book, I read the chapter titles, and I immediately thought they would give away the story. I was thinking "spoiler alert", but thankfully, I was wrong. There is a big twist/ development in the middle. Some readers don't like it, but I actually thought it was clever and interesting. It certainly played out differently than I expected.
- The writing is fantastic. I loved how Ms. Yoon manages to grab the reader with her quirky style and suck you in. Then once she has your attention, she makes you feel and you can't help but fall in love with her story, her characters and her brilliant and unique story telling. I will absolutely read another book by Ms. Yoon, her work is a bit reminiscent of Rainbow Rowell's, another favorite author of mine.
- The ending, though a bit abrupt and open, still leaves the reader in a good spot. Even though I was left longing for more story, I was happy the way it all settled out.
And The Not So Much:
- I am a detail reader, so I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more depth or description regarding Madeline's illness. I am vaguely familiar with the disorder, but I still would like more information on it.
- This is a short, quick read, and even though I loved the fast pace, I was wishing that the book took a tiny bit more time to explore and develop. There were times were I was left wanting so much more, especially after the big revelation. From that point on, things move lightning quick. I was looking at the dwindling pages and thinking, no it can't be almost over, there is so much more story to tell.
- This is just a niggle, but I became a bit invested in Zach, Ollie's friend. He had a troubling dilemma, and I was left wondering about him.
- The ending...... this is the reason the book didn't get that coveted five star rating. I had a love hate relationship with the ending. It is abrupt and open, and it ended just at the moment when I wanted to stay and revel for a few more pages. I always hate when books conclude right at the part you have been waiting for. Perhaps, the author will consider doing a sequel, I know I am not alone in wanting to spend more time with Maddy and Ollie.
Everything Everything is a delightful and charming, feel good, character driven book that you need to read if you want a unique and adorable as well as fluffy romance. I fell in love with the characters and the creative writing. This is absolutely a book that you need to read. It is one of those feel good reads that will make you smile. I know this book will end up on many best of lists for the year, and I can certainly say it has earned a spot on mine. With this amazing and impressive debut, Ms. Yoon has proven that she has some mad writing skills, and she will be an author that I won't hesitate to read in the future. Just do yourself a favor and read this.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.