Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Illustrations by David Yoon
Live life in a bubble…or risk everything for love?
This book could not have come into my life at a better time! Like several other people I know, I picked up this book because I saw that the movie is coming out some time this year. Starring Amanda Stenberg, the fantastic actress who portrayed Rue in The Hunger Games movie, it looked like an interesting story and I was intrigued.
The book focuses on Madeline Whittier, a teenage girl living with SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency, and her unique life. She is allergic to everything and cannot risk leaving her house for fear of a trigger causing her to lose her life. Told as a first person story from the perspective of Madeline, the book brings to life a character so rich and dynamic that is it impossible to put down. Maddy is funny, clever, and retains a cheery outlook on life despite her circumstances. She has a special bond with her mother, her only family, as well as her nurse, Carla.
When Olly and his family move in next door, she develops a relationship with him online, eventually meeting in person. Nicola Yoon masterfully interprets the fear that can come with falling in love, while simultaneously weaving in the potential doom that comes hand-in-hand with Maddy’s illness. Through her relationship with Olly, Maddy discovers new things about herself, develops as her own person, and craves to live. The once compliant and dutiful Maddy seeks to live in spite of her health, and chases adventure with Olly.
I enjoyed this book very much and blew through it in a few hours. It’s an easy read with an animated lead character that keeps you engaged. More than just the story itself, the book inspires feelings of wanting to experience and live your own life, which I think is one of the more powerful elements. Facing fear while wanting to explore the unknown, and conquering these hesitations, leads Maddy and Olly down a path to interesting revelations.
The books brings up themes such as family, trust, love, fear, and courage. Becoming your own person in spite of your fear and building relationships with others that are uniquely your own struck a chord with me. Being identified by who you are as a person, rather than your relationship with others or your circumstances in life, can be a challenge today. Seeing Maddy’s character develop while struggling to reconcile it with her past life and family speaks to the pains of growing up and making your own place in the world.
I recommend this book to everyone, and I look forward to reading Nicola Yoon’s next novel The Sun is Also a Star.
Because I’m curious…
Have you read Everything, Everything? Did you enjoy it?