I’ve been hearing about this book for months now, just waiting until I could get my hands on a copy. But I didn’t actually know much about it other than everyone was loving it up. When it arrived in my mailbox, I immediately tore into it. 24 hours later, I was done.
It’s the story of a girl called Madeline who suffers from a very rare disease that makes her allergic to… well, everything. She lives in a hermetically sealed house with only her mother (a doctor) and a full-time nurse to keep her company. At least one of them is there at all times, but she almost never has any other visitors – and she can’t ever go outside.
Which, for the most part, is okay. She has an online world where sheblogs and takes all her school classes via skype, and she reads (a lot). Her mom has done everything possible to keep her happy while also keeping her safe. Madeline doesn’t think much about what she’s missing out on, because there’s just no point.
Until one day a new family moves in across the street. From the very moment she sees Olly, Madeline’s life begins to change. She becomes fascinated by him, takes to watching his life out her window, and eventually begins to communicate with him via email and IM. Her crush on him grows, as does her sense of just how much she’s missing out on.
I can’t say much more without giving away important plot points, so you’ll have to discover the rest for yourself. But I can say that Madeline and Olly are a lot of fun to get to know. The book is told from Madeline’s perspective and contains her drawings, notes and plenty of hilarious messaging between she and Olly as their relationship progresses.
It’s a very easy and quick read, and one that will probably draw you in right away. It’s definitely got some similarities to The Fault In Our Stars, so if you’re a major fan looking for similar books, this is one you’ll want to pick up.
I had some issues with inconsistency and lack realism in places, which did take me out of the story a bit. Like how her disorder seemed a bit fuzzy here and there, or the fact that her visitors have to undergo stringent decontamination that takes at least an hour… but when the neighbours drop by, Madeline’s mom just answers the door, talks to them for a few minutes, closes the door and goes back through the sealed entry room. No decontamination. There are other little things like this throughout the book that made it hard at times for me to suspend disbelief.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Major Twist. I’m obviously not going to tell you what it is, but when you get to it, you’ll know. It made sense in terms of the story and I think lots of readers will absolutely love it, but it struck me as a little too… convenient.
That said, I definitely did enjoy this book. Was it perfect? No. But it was a very light, enjoyable, at times outright hilarious book. It had characters I grew very invested in, and the plot didn’t lag even once. I liked the creative incorporation of Madeline’s messages and drawings, and there were lots of little details that really brought her to life for me. If you’re looking for a YA book that will keep you well occupied for a day, this is the one!
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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. – Goodreads
**Thanks to Random House Canada for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!**
Book Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released: September 1, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Date Read: August 26-27, 2015