Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | Book Review

Last year, I wrote a post about why I read (and love) YA fiction. Since then, the amount of YA fiction that I’ve
read has decreased significantly. Not because I’ve grown out of the genre, or because I’ve not bought any YA fiction books, but because I’ve just been so absorbed in other genres that I just haven’t had the time to keep on reading them. This month, that changed and I read a YA fiction book that I’ve been meaning to read for a few years now: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

This was a book that I had my doubts about but I had heard lots of good things about it so I thought I’d give it a go and see how I liked it myself. Obviously, with the movie adaptation being released this year, I wanted to read it quickly so I could see the film as soon as possible. The story follows Madeline, a girl who has suffered from an auto-immune illness which stops her from being able to leave her house for the entirety of her life. At 18, this obviously causes problems and limits her social interactions and her personal happiness. When a family move in next door, Madeline finds herself intrigued by the family’s young son, Olly. After exchanging email addresses in a novel, clichéd way – paper pressed against the window- the two begin conversing and slowly become friends. Eventually, with a lot of pressure directed at Madeline’s nurse to allow them permission to meet, Madeline and Olly are allowed an hour to spend time together, to get to know one another. Inevitably, they fall in love and things get significantly more difficult for Madeline in her isolated environment. Feeling stuck, she decides to run away from home and breaks the careful bubble that her mother has placed her in. Olly in tow, Madeline travels to Hawaii to explore the world and experience everything that she has been denied access to her entire life.

In all, I enjoyed the book but it didn’t come without complications. I felt like the story was a little bit predictable but in spite of that I sped through it pretty quickly. It’s not a very long story and the writing is quite fast paced- a lot happens in 300 pages but it’s easy to follow and keep up with the pace. I loved the reference to Flowers for Algernon, my favourite book of all time and the layout of the book kept it pretty interesting. It was one of those books that I was happy to have had the opportunity to read, but at the same time it didn’t do anything that made me feel. I didn’t find myself falling in love with the characters – in fact, I found Maddy to be quite a selfish character with no concern for anyone but herself and her own feelings. I felt very sorry for Maddy’s mother and understood her viewpoint very well.

A decent read, but nothing to blow you out of the water with.