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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.