Live life in a bubble…
Or risk everything for love?
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, Maddy, am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was an expected read for me. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I checked it out from the library a few days ago, mostly because I’ve heard all the hype about it and I wanted to read it before I eventually watch the movie. Also, my sister read the book and she really liked it, which means a lot because neither of my sisters read very much. So I went into this read not really expecting all that much, maybe a quick fun love story about a sick girl. Boy was I wrong. This book surprised me in so many ways.
The first surprise was how much I genuinely liked our main character, Maddy. She has this innocence about her (likely because she’s never really left her house or interacted with anyone other than her mother and her nurse) that just was surprising but also super realistic. I learned by reading the pages in the back of the book that the author, Yoon, used a few situations from her very young daughter to portray that innocence in Maddy. It was very well done. Because of this innocence, I wanted to love and snuggle and protect Maddy forever, so when the new family next door includes an attractive boy the same age, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. With that said, Maddy also knew it wasn’t going to end well. She even tells herself that she’s not going to talk to him anymore, a couple times, because she knows she will just get hurt. But you can’t fight that forbidden love. Also, the main character that likes to read and write book reviews, c’mon, are you going to find a bookworm anywhere that doesn’t love this trope?
I thought the story was going to be just that, forbidden love and how the two fall in love anyway and it either kills Maddy or breaks her heart. I certainly did NOT expect what actually happened. The plot twist in this book was absolutely insane, but also incredibly written. There weren’t any hints that it was coming that I noticed. Everything, Everything started off sweet and innocent like a typical YA love story, but took a turn to pretty dark a bit over halfway through which I think is what made me like this book so much. I really love books that can surprise me and that’s exactly what Yoon did with this novel.
The secondary characters were also great. The main players were Maddy’s Mom, her nurse, Carla and of course, Olly. I loved the relationship between Maddy and her mom (for most of the book anyway), probably because it’s the relationship I always wished for with my own mother. They play board games together and actually talk about everything. I feel really bad for Maddy’s mom for a bit once Maddy starts talking to Olly because Maddy really neglects her relationship with her mom. She cancels movie nights and starts telling lies, it just didn’t sit well with me until our plot twist. I absolutely adore Carla. She’s the actual best. She lets Maddy get away with things that her mother wouldn’t because she wants to make sure Maddy is safe. You can just tell how much Carla really loves Maddy and I really enjoyed reading about their relationship.
Now, the main event, Olly. The handsome boy next door. I loved getting to know Olly. His back and forth banter with Maddy had me laughing out loud (which was bad because I read this book in bed after my husband went to sleep and I almost woke him up a few times.) He’s just so real and genuine toward her and it warmed my little heart. I think a part of this was that I loved Maddy so much and she so deserves to be loved. Olly just seemed like an all-around good guy. He wanted to make sure that Maddy was okay all the time. He would push the boundaries a little bit, but never too much. He actually communicated with her, which was nice to see instead of a broody macho man (which I like sometimes, but not for this book.) They were just a really good couple, they complimented one another and I’m glad they got their happy ending.
Everything, Everything has little illustrations throughout the story. I thought these were a really nice touch. They just added a little extra to the story. I also thought it was super sweet once I found out that it was Yoon’s husband that drew all of the illustrations and that she used to wake him up in the middle of the night to draw things when she was inspired. It just added something special to the story.
Overall, I liked this book so much more than I thought I was going to. Like, I read it in four hours last night before bed, the book was just that good and I couldn’t stop. These characters that wormed their way into my heart got their happy ending, but not in that annoying “and everyone lived happily ever after” kind of way. It was real and made sense. Maddy got what she wanted, but not without needed to work through some things. I just liked that the book didn’t end with a little bow that tied everything up. The characters were flawed and they had just learned how flawed they really were and how much work they’d need to put in to work on those flaws. But they were all moving forward despite their flaws and struggles. I could go on and on, so I’m going to stop here. If you haven’t read this book because you’re like me and are sometimes hesitant to read the hyped up books, then get over it and read this. You won’t regret it, I swear.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.