review: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

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.

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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*.

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