REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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AUTHOR: Nicola Yoon

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

DATE PUBLISHED: September 1, 2015

OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads)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.


 

Writing Style

Everything Everything is Nicola Yoon’s debut novel. Slipping into her writing world is as easy as blinking. I groan at lengthy chapters and since this is the contrary out-and-out, it’s not difficult to like it. There were also several illustrations and miscellaneous stuff – e.g. Maddy’s own dictionary, numerology, etc. – interspersed throughout the novel which I found appealing to my taste. Not that the writing was a downright bore but the pictures provided a good break from the customary rolling of words. Nicola Yoon’s impressive writing skills plus his husband, David Yoon’s drawing knack were a nice steaming hotchpotch on the whole.

Theme

Before anything else, Everything Everything focused on an underlying theme about a rare disease. In this story, Maddy has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) or “Bubble Baby Disease”. Basically, she’s trapped inside her home where everything was scrupulously immaculate. Professionally speaking, I am not the best judge on SCID so I can’t refute or affirm Yoon’s portrayal. However, I am passionate about books tackling rare medical issues as these not only shed light for me on the matter. It also broadens awareness, equipping us with the familiarity and proper etiquette on dealing with affected people.

Everyting about this book screams fluffy. With an impossible disease being a supplementary factor between Maddy and Olly, I appreciate a fresh take on romance herein. The use of modern facilities – internet, credit card, extravagant holiday getaway etc. – added elements of spice to the otherwise conventional love building. If it didn’t follow the classic instalove, girl’s-life-turned-360-degrees course, I would have entirely considered this a cut above other romances.

Also underscored on this novel is the filial love between Maddy and her mom. I adored how heart-rending affection was presented as something existing in a considerable amount to that of an obsession. Parents can be like that. Preventing their kids to do normal stuff to the point of asphyxiation is blindly mistaken as protection.

Besides these two forms of love, this book featured another kind. One that’s got almost everyone afflicted. One that’s mad and beyond reasons.  Beneath the roof of Olly’s house subsisted a series of battering and word abuse from his dad. In spite of everything, her mom didn’t resort to absconding for what? People do crazy things purportedly and as bullshit as it sounds, it’s a way of life. Unless I experience firsthand such circumstance, I will never comprehend why people enslave themselves to such kind of love (if you can still call it that way). People who got ensnared in such predicament will benefit from books as this as a form of awakening pill.

Characters

Now let me get my issues straight on the characters.

First, why do the characters have to look like freaking Adonis? Olly was tall and lean. Maddy had the dream wavy hair and a body cut for the beach. Before Everything Everything, there were already scores of novels that only underlined the flawless and the beautiful. Diversity’s missing. Discrimination deliberately/unintentionally comes into the surface. Why make the same mistake?

Second, Maddy had multiracial roots. Japanese, African, American. This is the perfect venue to showcase heterogeneity but Yoon didn’t. I was looking for traces of each culture reflected in Maddy but I got nothing but American.

Fundamentally, these are among my reasons for dropping a star on its rating.

Plot

Everything Everything follows the riveting story of star-crossed, us-against-the-world juveniles, Maddy and Olly. The plot was hooking enough to prevent a reader to unclench his or her hands from the book.

As abovementioned, love sparked too swiftly between the two protagonists to a point where it’s predominantly unreal. Being shut from the world where your only windows are the books, internet, and the one from your bedroom, it’s practically unfeasible for one to fall in love that fast. For starters, curiosity is erroneously taken as infatuation. How it developed into love altogether is outright preposterous. Their love adventure was sweet but again, very illusory. I’m not certain about how credit card applications are done in the States but I’m pretty sure an unwaged adolescent can’t have one without a parent or an adult knowing. Don’t get me started on their luxurious holiday trip to Hawaii. All these speak about people in love but simply, it’s too grand to relate too.

Regarding the plot twist, I like HOW IT WAS INSERTED in the storyline. It wasn’t abrupt nor was it behind. It gave enough time for the protagonists to have their fair share of adventures and misadventures on love. The reason WHY IT WAS INSERTED is an entirely different story and that didn’t appeal to my liking. It’s hackneyed in all senses. It’s like what most authors exploit on to grant their characters, or more accurately the readers, their fairy tales after all mishaps. It’s that one thing they had to tweak in the plot so as not to get infuriating remarks from the readers. That which will make you exclaim, “Man, this story’s getting old”.


See you on  TWITTER @thebookgasm |  GOODREADS @ Trisha Ann

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24 comments

  1. Your review is very spot on. I do sense an insta-love between Olly and Maddy. And I was also wondering about that credit card thingy. I don’t know how it works in the US so I let it slide, but I do wonder whether it’s realistic or the author was just trying to find a way to grant the characters their dream vacation. Gah. It was so cute, but so unrealistic for a contemporary book. You are so right in calling it fairy tale.

    Like

    • Thanks Windie! I liked it for its fluffiness and it being an easy read. It’s just that those issues really got in the way making me question its authenticity. But if Yoon can confirm this has already happened before, omg then I’m Team Oldy/Madly (bad ship name LOL)

      Liked by 1 person

      • That ship name sounds like a savage garden song. xD
        I support that ship, but I’m not sure I like Olly that much. He started out as an interesting character (I particularly like the Bundt cake story), but as the story continued, he became too perfect and cliche.

        Like

      • Yeah! He became this guy who’s overly obsessed with Maddy too! D: That Bundt cake story got me laughing too especially when Olly had to wear costumes to make the scenes come out right. Haha! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How can I agree with this review more than I already do?
    First, I think it’s so cute the author’s husband drew the pictures! I didn’t know that. 🙂
    But while the romance was sweet, it was also superrr predictable. The twist was cool, but I saw it from a mile (or, er half a book) away lol. And most importantly for me, our main characters are perfect.
    *narrows eyes* Too perfect for a multiracial girl with a supposed super rare disease.
    Still love the cover a lot, though.

    Like

    • Yes to all these! Thanks Aila! 😀
      It was David Yoon who drew it. Love their teamwork!
      I liked the plot a lot but that twist was just too cliche. Like waking up from a bad dream to give the character a brand new start.
      And ugh too perfect character features! Another cliche! But well, I have to say this is a good novel for a debut 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly loved reading this book, I enjoyed the story and I also loved how the plot twist was incorporated. I can agree with your points though! I was so intrigued about this novel for the reason that it tackled a unique illness, and apart from books that tackle mental illnesses, unique physical illnesses are a point of intrigue for me.
    I do think, now that I think about it a while after reading it, that the romance was a little bit unrealistic. Considering the fact that our main character is locked up, I can’t understand how Olly, and Maddy for that fact, fell so fast for each other. I suppose this is the thing with romance in books these days!

    Like

    • Maddy’s illness was what actually caught my interest to read this book. I like how YA/NA fictional books incorporate rare academic/medical stuff as it gives me info about that particular thing while having the pleasure of reading the story. 😀

      Their insta-love was one big issue for me. Or maybe that’s really a culture now and I’m just being too conventional I find it hard to believe it’s the trend. But still, Nicola Yoon was so good at writing I finished this book in barely 2 days! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh gosh, now I’m SUPER curious about this book. I’ve reserved it at the library, so it’ll come soon! I don’t usually read a book review until after reading the book, but I read yours anyway, heheh.

    But, I love the part where you said this, “It also broadens awareness, equipping us with the familiarity and proper etiquette on dealing with affected people.” YAAAAS GIRL. You took the words out of my mouth – I think these things are not only important as representation, but is also an accessible way for people to learn about things.

    I have a feeling I know what the plot twist is, SIGH. I guess I shall have to read it to find out. Dx

    Like

    • OMG!!! I’m so sorry I spoiled you on this in some way, CW! D: I should have inserted a warning of some sort there. Waaa I hope you’ll love ACOTAR/whatever you’re reading right now so much and be so busy fangirling about it and forget everything you’ve read here! T_T

      I appreciate authors tackling books with rare medical issues which gives us both reading for entertainment and information. I like how they initiate on taking the social responsibility of letting people become aware these illnesses exist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH MY GOSH no no no, it wasn’t you who gave me the idea! I’ve been seeing a lot of reviews for Everything, Everything, so I’ve put it together! By no means did my comment refer to your review!!

        Like

  5. Awesome review, Trisha! I agree with the points you made. Overall I ended up giving it 4 stars because of the fun vignettes and illustrations, but oh my gosh, the romance was definitely so unrealistic and crazy (like teenagers going on a trip at whim??).

    Like

    • I read your Goodreads review on this too, Summer! I agree about the drawings David Yoon did. I kinda relate bc I love doodling on my notes. Haha! Gosh, that Hawaii trip was just sweet but please, it’s nowhere near reality!

      Liked by 1 person

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