Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
I loved this book, it is indeed everything, everything! But even more telling is The Teen’s reaction to this book. She finished reading it yesterday and then immediately started reading it again. She left for school today carrying the book in her hand. She used words like “perfect”, “amazing”, and “beautiful” to describe Everything, Everything, in a really loud and enthusiastically high pitched voice. When I suggested that she loan the ARC to The Bestie to read she said, and I quote, “But I want to keep just reading it over and over again. When the book comes out I’m going to buy all the copies and carry it with me everywhere.” So, obviously, we are giving it a rave review.
Publisher’s Book Description:
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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.
This is a beautiful and beautifully written love story. This is also one of the few books that took a dramatic turn that I did not suspect and was stunned by. It was, quite simply, perfection. The characterizations were spot on and compelling, even Maddy who has this rare disease that most of us could in no way relate is in fact completely relateable and has a compelling teen voice. She has all the normal yearnings and desires and self doubt that a typical teenager has. She is trapped inside the seemingly perfect microcosm and yet even she can not escape the trials and tribulation of life, reminding us all that no matter how perfect we try to make our world and how much we try and control our lives and environment, there is a chaos that comes crashing in irregardless; life is, without a doubt, something beyond our control, practically imperfect and yet glorious all the same.
And then there is Olly. Olly is dark, mysterious and tormented. He is broken, yet kind and loving. If there is any flaw, it may be that Olly is an idealized romantic hero, the perfect boyfriend that so many of us want. Though he is, of course, in no way perfect.
The scenes between Maddy and Olly both sizzle and swoon. Many of them take place through email or over instant messages, but they perfectly capture those first few does he like me the way I like him doubts and insecurities that happen in the beginning stages of a relationship. They are gloriously awkward and tantalizingly full of promise.
Maddy also has a long-term care nurse who is devoted to her care and full of wisdom. She plays a crucial part near the end of the story.
I can’t tell you about the twists and turns that this story takes and how what appears to be a simple yet beautiful love story because something more moving and profound, I will just beg you to read it and take this emotionally compelling journey of love and self discovery with me. It is glorious and profound and moving.
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon comes out September 1st from Delacorte Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780553496642
I picked up an ARC at TLA earlier this year which is the source for this review.
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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