Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
Everything, Everything is similar to Recovery Road in terms of format. It is setup like a diary, though unlike Recovery Road it has pictures, and each would be chapter is short. However, with a movie coming up this August, starring Amandla Stenberg and Anika Noni Rose, you know I couldn’t resist. Though, let me tell you, this is by no means the best YA novel I’ve ever read.
Characters & Storyline
Since she was a baby, Madeline hasn’t left her house. Her mother, a doctor, has diagnosed her with SCIDs (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) after her getting gravely ill as a baby. What this basically does is turn her into a bubble child (Think Jake Gyllenhaal’s Bubble Boy). Which, if you saw the movie, you’ll remember means a lot of remodeling of the family home in order to accommodate the disease. So, with some money Maddy’s mom came into, she is able to redo the house to keep Maddy healthy.
Thus leading to, for more than 15 some odd years, the only people Maddy interacting with being her mom and nurse Carla. However, then comes Olly, a boy who moves in next door. His curiosity, his being new to the area, draws him to the cute girl who just watches people from the window. So, thanks to a bit of perseverance, and Maddy’s own curiosity, they become friends and so blooms the desire to become something more. But is that possible when Maddy can’t do things normal girls do? Will Olly, considering his family situation, as well as the ability to meet tons of girls at school, really give him the time to deal with the frustration which is having to adjust his life to meet the requirements of what he needs to do just to see Maddy? Well…
The Collected Quotes of Everything, Everything
Maddy and Olly’s Relationship Is Adorable
No matter what the YA novel is, pretty much it is the relationships and/or the friendships, that keep you interested. Especially in books like these which don’t have their lead with some serious sort of affliction which can give the reader a quick shock or scare. So, it makes it where as you read Maddy meeting and getting to know Olly, it is very cute. After all, once you take into account how isolated Maddy has been, and this is probably one of the few boys her age she has had the chance to interact with, it makes you a bit nostalgic.
This is, of course, assuming you are my age, nearly a decade away from Maddy’s, and reading her talk about the butterflies and how being within a couple of feet from someone you are into makes the hairs on your arms stand. All of it, truly, reminds you of what it was like to be young and have a full-fledged, it could happen, type of crush. The kind you dream about and so much more.
It’s Not Too Heavy or Sensationalized
I think I’m not alone in saying that the YA novel genre has become saturated with drug addiction, accidental deaths, various kinds of abuse, and with that it makes books which don’t include that seem tame. Heck, they seem boring in comparison. For, after all, books are about escapism, going into someone else’s world, usually more interesting than yours, and getting away. Yet, at the same time, books are also about finding someone, or something, to relate to, despite your difference.
Maddy’s life is bare. She has her mom, Carla, and a computer she strangely only does school work on. Even when Olly enters her life, there is nothing sensationalized about their relationship. He isn’t some bad boy she is trying to save nor is he just some curious dude who is bored.
In a lot of ways, Everything, Everything reminds you that storytelling, and coming of age, isn’t just about having sex for the first time, your first drink, your first smoke, or what often are considered things that adults do. It’s about experiencing life with the only influence your parents having is how they live by example and you deciding what to, or not to, take from that. Which includes how you handle being offered sex, drugs, and etc., as well as how you handle tragedy, how you are as a friend or partner when that other person is hurting and more.
Overall: Mixed (Borrow)
While I really have nothing but praise for Everything, Everything here is the thing. It’s not for everyone. This book isn’t about escapism but providing perhaps a character to relate to. Hence why Maddy is Black and Asian, just like Nicola Yoon’s children will be. This book, in a way, is about breaking the mold, not giving in to the need for sudden shocks and the usual beliefs of what teens get themselves, and each other, into. This book is for those who may have issues with their parents, maybe never been kissed, but nonetheless are completely normal. With that, as much as the book has quotable lines up the ying yang, it doesn’t really bring me to say you should buy it nor can I strongly recommend it. It’s a quick read which won’t be taxing on your time and emotions but with it just being cute, even with Maddy’s diagnosis, it doesn’t come up with ways to make you wanna read this over and over again. As much as we get to know Maddy and Olly, as well as their friends and family, they don’t leave a strong impression for they are so normal that, minus or plus one or two things, you probably already know someone like them.
Hence the Mixed (Borrow) label for while those prepping for the movie I think may enjoy the insight, and surely will look forward to certain moments in the movie, I think on its own Everything, Everything may do things differently, but not in such a way it becomes exemplary.