Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
- young adult / romance / contemporary
- published by Delacorte on September 1st 2015
- ebook version 240 pages
- Goodreads / Amazon / The Book Depository
★★★ 3.5 stars
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
If you haven’t yet heard of Everything, Everything I’m afraid you, like I, are a little late to the bandwagon. Everybody and their dog seemed to receive an ARC copy of this through NetGalley and so did I but for some reason I didn’t pick it up for far too long, even in spite of the glowing praise it received. It sat in lonely stasis on my online shelf for months until I finally decided to pick it up as my first read of 2016. I wanted something quick before I had to dive back into my uni reading list and, given the hype and my easy accessibility to the book, it was perfect. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to the hype.
I’ve probably already steered many people away, haven’t I? I went into this with an easy mind. It’s one of those books you don’t have to give a lot of mental capacity to in order to read, quite like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It’s quick, it’s light, it’s simple. But unlike the first in Jenny Han’s infamous duology it falls flat. The characters – what few they are – whilst likeable and interesting felt like static 2D caricatures on my screen. I kept waiting for more, reading and reading awaiting that brink where they were brought to life, but sadly it just didn’t happen for me.
“‘I love you, Olly. I loved you before I knew you.'”
My main issue with this book was the instalove. Yes, the relationship was cute – as most are in YA contemporary – but the love bloomed out of no where. I feel like it was there but it was hidden behind the scenes; if this were a movie, it would just be one big sappy miming-out-the-window, IMing-til-dawn montage. It kind of happens like that. One minute they did not know each other and the next Maddy was willing to risk her life (literally) to a) be near him, b) save him, and c) live like an ordinary person.
Carla was perhaps my favourite of the limited cast members. I felt like she seemed the most genuine of them all. I could actually see and feel the strength of the relationship she and Maddy had and was devastated when certain plot details broke them apart. She created a good parallel to Maddy’s mother which I think was cleverly crafted.
“What do I regret? That I went outside in the first place. That I saw and fell in love with the world. That I fell in love with Olly?”
Unlike most people the ending was actually my favourite part. Whilst avoiding spoilers because it is a bit of an unexpected twist I think it brought about an added dimension I didn’t see coming. Given that though, it still all felt a bit static. Whilst action and quite interesting things were beginning to happen in Maddy’s life it still didn’t explore the wells of depth topics like these needed to be done in. Almost like the thought was there but it all got a bit glossed over. I wanted to see more of the after effects on Maddy’s mother, on how Maddy herself learnt to cope, and much much more. All in all the whole novel feels a bit like that to me: the plot and characters are there but they just need some more preening to fully make them bloom. Everything, Everything could’ve been an incredible first read of the year and I’m sad I didn’t enjoy it more.
★★★ 3.5 STARS
I received an ARC copy of this text from NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review. This has not shaped, changed, or altered my opinions in any way; all thoughts are my own.