EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
“Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years.”
Imagine you had a rare disease which kept you at home for the entirety of your teenage years – everything around you has to be carefully measured and controlled to ensure you can survive. Visitors and sources from the outside world are a never-ending risk, even down to the carefully wrapped books Maddy receives through the post.
TITLE. Although simple and minimalistic, the title is effective without giving away any of the details of the plot, which in this scenario, I like. I personally prefer novels where the title clearly links to the text, but I understand that with contemporaries this isn’t always a good idea. For example, RADIO SILENCE is a good title because it links to the podcast within the novel – whereas allergic or bubble boy syndrome wouldn’t have worked for this contemporary as it definitely has a wider message you’re intended to pick up on.
“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”
COVER. I love this cover – these often attract me towards a book, and as much as I don’t like to judge a book solely on it’s cover, I love something presented well and especially involving a clever or minimalistic cover.
“prom·ise (ˈpräməs) n. pl. – es. 1. The lie you want to keep.”
CHARACTERS. Diverse characters are always a bonus. Contemporary love stories may sometimes feel flat in terms of character but I truly felt Maddy and Olly were real and raw. Perhaps their relationship wasn’t as realistic as it could have been, but I felt that this was definitely a novel where the message is supposed to be bigger than the fine details.
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
PLOTLINE. Most contemporary novels have some sort of twist in their plot – I’ve seen some people complain that this was a problem for them, but personally I think the twist made the novel more believable, not less. There was a small aspect of suspending disbelief throughout, but the story was so beautiful I was willing to let this slide.
“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”
Overall, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is a beautiful book – it’s about being unafraid to not just be alive but to also be living and appreciating what you have balanced with the desire for more – like the best of contemporaries I don’t think reading this novel should just be taken at face value but also listened to. As Maddy says: “Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”
I rated EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING a 4.5*.