Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

In Everything, Everything we met Maddie, a girl who has a severe immune system deficiency and cannot leave the house in fear of her having a allergic reaction to something and dying and Ollie, a boy who lives both by his own rules and in fear of his fathers ongoing rage at the way his life has ended up. After 18 years of reading and boredom for Maddie, Ollie moves in next door. Maddie very quickly becomes obsessed. So does Ollie. And that spells trouble.

As Maddie becomes more and more tempted to see Ollie the danger factor rises more and more and Maddie has to make some difficult decisions about what she wants for her own life and the sacrifices she is willing to make.

This book resonated strongly with me in ways I hadn’t expected. I have read books about people with illnesses before but they all have illnesses in abstract ways, they seem to get on with little self pitying and on-going struggles apart from books about people with cancer who normally end up dying in the end. (which is heartbreaking but not what I’m trying to get at). These characters aren’t relatable in their illnesses. Maddie was to me. I am not ill like Maddie is but I have two chronic illnesses and take strong chemo-like medication with many side effects in order to keep it under control. I have been ill, like Maddie, for almost as long as I can remember. Maddie’s struggle with her illness on a daily basis from an emotional point of view, the ‘why me?’ and ‘will I ever get better’s are something I can really understand.

I think thats what really made the book so great for me. Not necessarily the romance but the way the characters, Maddie especially, grows throughout the book. She has become an adult and finally exerts her rights and makes her own decisions, free of anyone else. Ollie may have opened the door for her to be independent but she needs no one to help her in her new found freedom. Her willingness to break free is refreshing, Maddie is not a heroine who breaks free but still relies heavily on her male love interest but a fully rounded character in her own right.

We are coming to the end of the year and for some people that may mean a time of reflection and gift giving but for me it means reading as many books as I can get my hands on- thats right, I need to complete my goodreads challenge and I have only 6 weeks in which to complete it. Stress. It is in this time of worry and doubt that small quick contemporaries are a saviour. I am not in anyway saying that I only read Everything, Everything because of my impending failure at a goodreads challenge I set myself but that was a deciding factor I must admit. But I am so happy I picked it up. Sincerely happy. It was a good decision. (plus its so pretty and for you UKers out there its £3.95 on Amazon right now, do you need another reason to buy it?)

Bottom Line- This book made me re-evaluate things. I cried for both good and bad reasons and sometimes I laughed. It made me happy. I would recommend it to anyone.

EDIT: Please see my latest EE post about ableism and disability representation

I am giving Everything, Everything 4 ½ ice creams.


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