Before I start waxing poetic about my experience with this book, let me give you the gist of what it’s all about.
“What did you wish for?” she asks as soon as I open my eyes. Really there’s only one thing to wish for—a magical cure that will allow me to run free outside like a wild animal. But I never make that wish because it’s impossible. It’s like wishing that mermaids and dragons and unicorns were real. Instead I wish for something more likely than a cure. Something less likely to make us both sad. “World peace,” I say.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is a book about life; living, and what it takes to get there. Madeline Whittaker is just your average 18-year-old girl–oh, except for the fact that she has a rare disease that makes her allergic to everything and she’ll die if she leaves the house. She’s accepted this, and she’s pretty content with her days of online learning and nightly games of Phonetic Scrabble (or Fonetik Skrabbl) with her mom.
Until one day, she’s not. A boy about her age and his family move across the street, and suddenly her tiny, residential life isn’t enough anymore. Suddenly, she wants everything, everything the world has to offer.
As someone with a short attention span, I can’t help but rave about the length of this book. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour read, barely above 300 pages. This book is told through Madeline’s perspective, and her little doodles and journal entries really make the pages fly by.
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’s white with a pale honey tan and his face is starkly angular.
One thing Yoon really excels at is contrast. She features it in her descriptions often, and also uses it as symbols. To some, it might seem a little on the nose to have rebel Ollie dressed in all black and innocent unworldly Madeline in pure white, but having their wardrobe be opposite to their skin tones is a nice touch.
I’ve never lied to my mom. I’ve never had a reason and I don’t think I know how to.
I adore Yoon’s use of premonition. Her finely-tuned ability to make the twists featured later in the novel sound reasonable and realistic in the world she’s set before us, but still surprising in a way that doesn’t make the reader feel talked down to.
Madeline: I’m not a princess.
Madeline: And I don’t need rescuing.
Olly: that’s ok. i’m no prince
It’s not easy for modern day authors to ignore the technology we have access to in our present day world. Making a relationship bloom on the page using features like instant messaging can be tricky, but the way Yoon intersperses it throughout the novel gives the reader aptly-timed breaks in between delightful chunks of prose.
This was such a quick, enjoyable read! Watching the “first love” between Ollie and Madeline blossom is really endearing; it made me feel 18 again! I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a warm, one-sitting Sunday morning read, or just wants to read some cute YA. If you like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, or books in the same vein, you should check this out. Bonus: the actor who plays Simon in the movie also plays Olly in the film for this that came out a few years ago! I haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, but now I think I might need to!
“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”