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.
This story is told in first-person present-tense entirely from the POV of Madeline, who is turning eighteen in the first chapter. Maddy has lived her entire life isolated in the protective confines of her home, thanks to a condition that’s left her without a functional immune system. She has a strong relationship with her doctor mother, and her full-time nurse, Carla, and is resigned to live more vicariously than actually. Until she meets the boy next door…
Simple, serviceable prose with restrained vocabulary. I sometimes forgot this wasn’t aimed at a Middle Grade audience. As some reviewers have noted, this feels like a deliberate diverging away from John Green’s famed work involving a dangerously ill teen—The Fault In Our Stars. It’s almost as though this is meant to be alternative reading for those who didn’t care for hyper-mature teenagers spouting existential literary quotes, (or for Nicholas Sparks-style sobfests, for that matter.)
I personally enjoyed the well-threaded references to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. The parallels drawn were gut-wrenching and skillfully utilized, regardless of how one might feel about the suicide-related aspects.
And here’s where my medical background swoops in like Nurse Ratchet and mercilessly underscores aspects I might have otherwise been able to ignore...
-Why are surgical filtration masks never mentioned?
No masks of any kind, in fact, for the purpose of at least reducing risk. No one from the outside ever wears one when they go through the decontamination process to enter Maddy’s house. And when Maddy contemplates taking the chance of leaving the purported safe-haven of her home, absolutely zero risk-diminishing measure cross her mind. Hazmat suit? No. Super-soaker full of Purell? Nay. Gloves? Nope. Dollar Tree flu masks? Not even. It’s as though no one has the slightest idea how to manage the practicalities of someone who is immuno-suppressed. I could understand Maddy’s eventual willingness to take risks to live more normally, but why not do so more safely?
-On a related note, it’s pretty unclear why anyone thinks Maddy needs a full-time nurse—who constitutes an additional and consistent exposure risk (i.e. by going out into the world and home to her family ever night.) Maddy isn’t consistently ill and presents as fully independent, albeit within her controlled “bubble” home environment. The house is high-tech and she could easily be monitored while her mother is away at work. As much as she SHOULD know about her own care by age 18, she could be taking and keeping track of her own vital signs. I have a lot of trouble fathoming how a full-time nurse is logical or cost-effective.
-I'm deeply disappointed no efforts were made at using the story to better inform readers about either SCID or Munchausen's by Proxy. Aside from a brief first-page explanation of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, additional information isn’t offered along the way—not even when the obvious educating opportunity of the potential boyfriend presents. All focus was instead placed on the romance. But as far as we know, Olly doesn’t ask many questions or otherwise research his beloved’s condition… (That I find most difficult to believe. The fault of too much personal experience, perhaps.)
Issues with medical suspension of disbelief aside, I also had some trouble buying the romance.
It starts out beautifully with Olly going to theatric extremes in trying to win and maintain Maddy’s close-distance attention. The bunt cake montage is certainly chuckle-worthy, and sets up readers to anticipate getting to know a young man with a great sense of humor. But alas, that is also the last point where I have recollection of feeling humored. There’s no resurfacing of this goofball-ish determination we at first found endearing. I suspect most of the appeal in their relationship is to those who are more enthralled with Maddy’s first-time-sensations—as those are somewhat amplified due to her lifetime of isolation and longing.
It is implied that a good deal of their romance blossomed gradually via online interactions—which unfortunately, left most of the emotional intimacy to telling rather than showing. We aren’t privileged to know much of what they talked about online. By the end of the book, I felt like I still didn't know either of them particularly well.
Content Note: The book contains a sex scene that, while not graphic, isn’t what I’d call fade-to-black either. Condom use is at least mentioned.
Issues of mental illness are sidestepped, and the handling of the feature illness may strike immuno-suppressed readers (and their family and/or caregivers) as trivialized. There’s also a persistent message that could easily lead some readers to the depressingly insidious conclusion of: “If you are living with limitations, you’re not living at all!”
And therein lies my biggest qualm with this book—a seriously problematic disability portrayal. I could fumble through expanding on this and all the spoilers that would entail, but I’d prefer to point to a far better qualified source--Jennifer J. Johnson’s review from Disability In Kidlit:
I was very surprised when I was approved for this book on Netgalley, that I started reading it the night I got it. The premise was very interesting so I did not hesitate to start reading it. First chapter then bam! I was hooked. I really loved the way Nicola Yoon wrote the book, and the illustrations by her husband gave me an exciting and more memorable experience while reading this.
Everything, Everything tells the story of Maddy, who has SCID, a rare disease which makes her allergic to everything and because of that, it requires her to stay inside of their house, under certain protocols. Things started to change when a new family moves in as their new neighbors, and she met Olly, a boy her age and from there friendship and romance bloomed.
I enjoyed the characters so much. Maddy was a bit naive, but she’s can be pretty firm and yes, stubborn about things. She’s has a strong willpower too, albeit being pretty emotional most of the time. I think it’s due to the way she was brought up by her mother. Even though, we couldn’t agree on some things, I was rooting for Maddy all the way. Olly’s character surprised me. I thought he was going to be this bad boy/player type of guy because of they way he dresses up (all black… so yeah) but NOPE. There’s not even a single thing in his personality that seemed shady or gave off a bad boy vibe. He’s absolutely and utterly adorable! He’s kind, understanding and gentle. He’s also strong and I love that he loves his family so much. Not being biased because his name is Oliver. I’m not, trust me. He’s definitely one to swoon for!
The book was fast-paced. I could’ve finished it in 24 hours but I chose not to because I want to take it all in slowly. The narration was superb! I loved all the illustrations because they added a new dynamic to the story. It also helped visualize things! The plot was definitely enjoyable and I did not expect a twist. It turned out so much better than I was expecting!
Some really minor reservations though. Maddy’s condition could’ve been explained further. I was totally looking forward to knowing more about it. Also for her mother, It could’ve been nice to have her background story to be cleared up.
Overall, I was practically speechless after reading this book because it was written so beautifully. It was a mix of poignancy, hope, and fun. It opened me and my mind up to new things, which gave me absolutely great experience. The romance wasn’t too cheesy, but it was that good to make me swoon. Watch out for this debut novel by Nicola Yoon!
Blew me away
I got to read this book for the Dutch, yet English speaking, bookclub, called “Bored to Death Book Club”. Every month we read and discuss a book that we pick together. And whilst I couldn’t make it to this edition of the bookclub due to my lungs being totally sucky, I did read and enjoy the book, and I will review it for you guys. I didn’t really expect anything of “Everything, Everything” but I was totally blown away!
It all sounds very good, yet at the same time very terrible for the person whose experiencing it: Madeline is too sick to go outside of her house. Living under her mother’s supervision, she gets home-schooled, has no contact with the outside world and tries to make the best of it with. It sounds like a promising story, yet I was afraid it would turn out to be a knock-off of “The Fault in Our Stars” only a little bit different. Turns out I was all wrong, luckily. But I promised not to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail what it exactly was that surprised me. But the ending has one of the biggest plot twists in all history of plot twists so you should seriously experience this book by yourself.
The story is told from Maddie’s perspective, who is, after all she’s been through, a character that wasn’t annoying at all, even though she could’ve been one of those ‘spoiled by mommie’ brats. She was just a girl longing for the outside world while trying to stay alive inside of her tiny house, her own safe cubicle. She has interesting thoughts and I think Nicola Yoon really created an honest character that tries to except and fight certain circumstances like any other teenager would.
As for Olly, I couldn’t relate to him at all. He wasn’t honest to Maddie, but as a read, you soon find out why he isn’t. But still, even though I loved reading chapters about Olly and Maddie together, I had my doubts about him. But he turned out to be just really sweet and goodhearted and maybe even a little bit naive. I felt sorry for him but at the same time I wan’t to punch him in the face (no joke intended) and you know, let him speak up. It’s not that I don’t like him, I just kinda got frustrated by him.
What I absolutely adore about the book is how it looks. You have pages with just direct storytelling from Maddie, you have lists, pictures and IM messages. You have everything (everything) put together in one book, creating a world that you can easily image and felt so real. Nicola Yoon did a great job at the visuals department: describing surroundings is not something she does all the time, but still, implicitly you get to know a lot bout the surroundings through Maddie’s eyes, since she’s so fixed on what she’s been missing while being locked up in her home. The use of senses was one of the main reasons I think Nicola Yoon is a great author. I like her writing style and the whole thing put together. She also knows how to lighten up serious scenes with subtle jokes and references. So thumbs up on that department.
I do believe she could’ve elaborated on the last couple of chapters of the book. To me it felt too fast, and maybe it was supposed to be that way, due to Maddie’s condition, but I just wished there was more for me to read. It’s both a critique and a compliment I think. But over all I think Nicola Yoon kept great balance in telling her story with a lot of ‘action’ and some slower scenes in which the reader gets to know her living situation better.
I do have to warn you: I couldn’t keep it dry 100%. I think tissues are recommended. Nicola knows how to play with emotions and I think the fact that Maddie is just an ordinary girl living with an extraordinary condition is very easy to relate to. I started to feel really close to the characters and wasn’t ready to say goodbye at the last page of the book. This story is so rare, I think it will stay with me forever and ever.
“Everything, Everything” is a surprisingly good book with lovable characters and a plot twist you won’t see coming. You will wish the book contained about 50 more pages, because the characters will soon feel as if they are real, as if they are your friends, that you cannot get enough of spending time with. I recommend this book to anybody who loves Jasmine Warga, John Green or Rainbow Rowell. You will not get disappointed!
- great writing style
- BIG plot twist
A unique and interesting book that’s pretty hard to put down
What I Loved: Maddy was the star of the book and I genuinely liked her. Her view on the world, limited as it was, was great. She’s book lover, so that’s already a plus in her favor. She also has a Tumblr book blog and her one-lined reviews were spot on and entertaining. I also really loved all the drawings. They were probably my favorite part of the book. I’m a sucker for a good illustration. They fit with the story and gave me a better mental picture of the story and Maddy as a whole.
I absolutely adored Olly and Maddy together. They were so cute together. Everything was new to them, especially to Maddy, and it was fun watching them navigate a relationship, given Maddy’s condition. I expected Olly to be fascinated by Maddy, anyone would be, but I didn’t expect them to connect so well and I really appreciated that. Given his predicament, Maddy was good for him. Like a breath of fresh air.
I also didn’t see that twist coming. I was totally expecting a different kind of ending and when it first happened I thought it was a cop out, which pissed me off. But then I continued reading and discovered it was this totally different kind of thing and it blew my mind a bit once all was said and done.
What Didn’t Work for Me: Like I said, that twist threw me for a loop at first and it’s a big jarring, but once everything comes to light, it gets better. Also, there’s really not much going on and I could’ve used more in terms of Maddy’s diagnosis, but I guess that would’ve lessened the effects of the twist. I also would’ve liked more of Maddy’s past and of her family back when they were a foursome. I didn’t connect with her mother at all and even though I was sad for the losses, it was only for a second, so I didn’t connect on that level.
Final Verdict: I’d definitely give this book a try. It’s so different and even though not much happens, it’s pretty riveting. I couldn’t stop reading.
I want to start off by praising the diversity in this book! Our girl Maddy is Asian and African American mixed. I've not seen that done in any books and I loved it! I also love that her nurse Carla is from Mexico. I love the interracial couples in this book. I like seeing more of that. There is also a LGBT guy in this book. So this book gets an A+ in diversity from me.
So Madeline has SCID, which means she is pretty much allergic to the world. So has lived in her white house for 18 years. The only people she sees is her nurse and mother and every once in a full blue moon a tutor.
I know nothing about this disease so I can't speak about how true it was to real life but I do know it seems like the author took liberties at times. There was also many times when I saw the plot twist coming and that plot twist is what bothered a lot of people. It did not bother me as I knew by reading the book jacket that it was going to be like the movie Bubble Boy. I knew this would happen.
My huge grip with this book is the insta-love. That's really it. I loathe insta-love but once I got over that I love the point of this book. Don't be scared to take risks. That's what I got from it at least. We can live in our little bubble or we can step out and take that first step and who knows what we could find.
I love Olly, he's a cute dream boat. I feel so badly for the life he lives with his family and their father. I love how he wasn't perfect and either was Maddy. I think they fit well together. I love how much he really did love her, even if they could never fully be together, he didn't care. That my friends, is real love.
The mother... I don't really know where to start... I mean I can understand not wanting to lose her daughter after losing her husband and son but to do the things she did. Again, no words.
Overall, this is a cute read and I enjoyed it so much. Just look past a few mistakes and the this book is such wonderful and it gave me all the feels.
Can't Put Down
I really couldn't put this book down once I started it. Maddy had me hooked from the first sentence with her sarcastic charm, and her amazing view on the life she was given. At the beginning you see Maddy okay with her disease, and she is okay just physically knowing her mother and nurse.
When Olly comes into the picture though, man does Maddy's world flip around. Her story is incredibly sweet and there are certain parts that you can relate with her.
I for sure fell in love with Maddy's story.
To me, this book reminded me of The Fault in our Stars.
Addicting to read
Maddy spends all of her days inside, with the only people she sees being her mother and her nurse Carla. Her disease makes it impossible for her to go outside so she takes classes online and spends the rest of her time reading or playing games with her mother. When a new family moves next door, Maddy finds herself fascinated by the son, Olly. Maddy can see herself falling for him, but is there any way a relationship between them won’t end in heartbreak?
This is a book I had been hearing about for a while so I was excited when I finally got my hands on a copy. It was short, just over 300 pages, and a lot of the chapters were very short, sometimes only a page, so it made for a quick read. But it was a read that I really enjoyed and, even with the seriousness of Maddy’s condition, found it quite light and adorable.
Maddy was a really interesting character. I loved her passion for her favourite books, something that was easy to relate to, her frustrations at being confined to her house were understandable, and her relationships with her mother and Carla were warm, playful, but also felt a little stunted since they were the only two people she physically interacted with in her life. She was lonely and needed someone in her life that wasn’t her mother, her nurse, or her teacher.
In came Olly. Olly was complicated and unpredictable but after locking eyes with Maddy, he became as fascinated by her as she was with him. Their friendship developed slowly, mostly online in late night IM’ing sessions, and it was sweet and gave them both someone to talk to when they needed it. His home life wasn’t perfect either and they slowly went fro being a distraction to each other’s problems to being someone they could really count on to be there.
As mentioned, it was a quick read, but not only because of the short chapters. There was just something about Maddy and Olly that made me want to see if they could find a way to really be together. There were some twists in the plot that I ended up picking up on so it was a bit predictable, but in the end it didn’t matter. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the characters and the book.
I loved EVERYTHING about this book
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year! I am so glad to say that this book exceeded my expectations! This was a wonderfully unique novel!
Madeline never leaves her house. She dreams of it, but Madeline has a rare disease in which she is allergic to everything and going outside can kill her. Madeline is used to staying indoors with only books, movies, and board games to keep her company, even if she wishes she could go outside. It's when a new family moves next door that her small world changes. She falls for the son, Olly, and they keep contact with each other, despite the fact that she much never leave her home. But meeting Olly makes Madeline realize that she's not living and more than anything, Madeline wants to live.
I really don't know how to talk about this book without full-on gushing! Everything (ha-ha) was perfect! I started this book late at night, I only meant to start it, but I had to keep going! I adored the writing, the characters, the story, everything. I picked up this book originally after reading the intriguing synopsis! A girl who is allergic to everything is certainly a new idea in the book and a perspective I wanted to see. Add the complicated relationship and I was curious to see how things would work out. The premise was very well-incorporated! It was precisely what I expected and more. The story was enormously realistic, in a new environment. I know I'm just gushing and repeating myself a lot, and I'm sorry for that.
I would also like to mention a nice surprise in the book. There are illustration, notes, and whatnot all throughout the pages. I'm a sucker for these things, so they made me very happy.
Now, Madeline is a fabulous MC. Also, she's a POC, which I feel weird mentioning, but it's so rare in YA and books in general that this just made me very happy. Anyway, Madeline is a very realistic character. Yeah, she has a rare disease, but she felt so real, as with her thoughts and actions. She also has her own flaws, like a normal human being. She makes many mistakes, but all of them are understandable is that makes any sense. It's interesting too, how this book is also a coming of age tale. She has lived a very sheltered life and the introduction to Olly gives her the realization that there's more to life and she's not really living it. I'm having a hard time describing more about her, but she's really a fabulous and strong character, and I love how real she is, while still being a character that stands out from other YA MCs.
As for romance, some people have described it as insta-love, but it's not. Keep in mind that Madeline hardly ever sees anyone and she's immediately interested in this odd boy moving in next door. This only escalates when Olly actually begins communicating with her and doesn't judge her for her disease. Also, their relationship starts as a friendship and then the feelings grow and instead of being cheesy, it's just real (there's that word again). Olly was also kind of adorable and just a fantastic guy!
The ending, though, was a bit odd. There was a twist that I wasn't expecting, but its still made sense and gave the book a very satisfactory ending.
Overall, I strongly recommend this book! Everything is amazing about this book! If you want to read a new contemporary that is wonderfully unique, then pick up this book! As for me, I'm looking forward to more books by Nicola Yoon!