Everything, Everything proves to be a groundbreaking novel for me. Released in September of 2015, Nicola Yoon seems to have paved a new path in the Young Adult universe, incorporating diversity and creativity into a world of mental and physical illness, emotional and physical abuse, love, betrayal (huh?! what?) and, most importantly, hope.
A Pretty, Brief Summary
Madeline Whittier is content with her secluded life inside her home with her computer, books and sunroom. She doesn’t have much choice; she has a disease called SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency=immune deficiency), making her allergic to the world. However, one day, the four walls of her home isn’t enough anymore as she notices a family moving in next door. This is when the ‘When-Maddy-meets-Olly’ story begins. Olly changes her outlook, breathing life, love and hope into her. But, what does this mean for Maddy and her loved ones? Are her actions and decisions worth the risk? What kind of life will Maddy choose?
First and foremost, Everything, Everything is a love story. It’s cute, fluffy and very enjoyable. I respected the inclusion of sensitive issues and the diversity of the characters. The issues are a bit subtle, but it’s present. Abuse is spoken about. Mental illness is mentioned. Both aspects added to the story, driving the characters’ conflicts and resolve. The ethnicities of the characters are varied, but I love that the protagonist is biracial. As a biracial woman myself, I felt genuine pride and reassurance.
Everything, Everything is an experience. The illustrations and chapter titles definitely engulf the reader into Maddy’s world. With chapters named, “Wonderland,” “Chaos Theory,” “Half Life,” “Map of Despair” and “Fairy Tales” and illustrations of graphs, IM messages and Hawaiian Reef Fish (plus, Madeline’s Dictionary!), I am walking alongside Maddy and Olly experiencing their interactions and thoughts.
Finally, Everything, Everything is a movie (May 2017)! I honestly enjoyed it very much (book-to-movie adaptations are either a hit or miss with me). Of course, things were both added and subtracted, but I think the producers remained true to the book. The creative aspect is evident and prominent. Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson are lovely onscreen Maddy and Olly. Their chemistry felt honest and sincere, and I believe they depicted these characters comprehensively and amazingly.
Now, is this story realistic? No. I don’t think so. There are some plot features and twists which seemed a bit off to me (trying not to spoil here). Is it still worth the read? Yes. Like I mentioned above, I think, as a reader, this novel brought about a new experience for me and gave insight into many important elements.
It made me think and that’s all I ever want from a book. If I’m just reading it and I don’t feel anything, learn anything or contemplate anything, then the book did not do its job. Everything, Everything dives into the great mystery of life through the journey of love. Are you living or are you just alive? Is just existing enough? Are taking risks worth it? Is love the hope a person needs to navigate life?
What lesson or questions did you take away from Everything, Everything? Did you see the movie? How does it compare to the book? Let me know your thoughts!