Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Monday, 19 June 2017

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

Everything, Everything is a very simply written book with short chapters that are interspersed with documents, email conversations, and web pages. It’s also incredibly boring, with nothing really special going for it.

I’ll hand it to Yoon: she’s created a very quick read that doesn’t require all that much brain power to get through, which is much needed following dense or challenging reads, but offers no challenge in itself. She tried to be poetic in the way she crafted the story, but it fell short and ended up feeling just a little bit try hard.

The plot also was very convenient and typical for young adult, following the instalove trope when Maddy first sets eyes on her new neighbour, Olly. She’s instantly into him and starts talking to him immediately, confiding in him and becoming obsessed with his company to the point of ignoring and lying to her mother. I could kind of forgive her for wanting to keep her feelings to herself, but this was overridden by my dislike for her when she started becoming bratty and selfish – all thanks to a boy who was incredibly irritating in his own ways. The relationship between Maddy and her mother is weird, too. It didn’t seem as close as they were making it out to be and I felt Maddy was being babied, but her mother in turn was being patronised. In short, I just didn’t get on with the characters or the story, as everything was centred on selfishness and stupidity.

I also took issue with the lack of explanations – especially when it came to Maddy’s condition. It felt as if there had been no (or at the very least, minimal) research about SCID, as all we really got were blood pressure readings and temperature checks. With Maddy’s mother being a doctor, I would have thought we’d get something a little more technical.

The adventure Maddy and Olly decide to go on about half way through the book is just so… Poorly thought out. By them and by the author. Why would a girl who knows anything could kill her – or at least land her in hospital in a critical condition – risk it all for a boy who’s practically a stranger? Why would she run away anyway? Her mother devoted her life to caring for her and the minute she puts her foot down and exerts her motherly authority, Maddy whines and has to get her own way by doing the most ridiculous thing. Where did she get the money from, anyway? Why did Olly go along with it?

The plot twist (although I use that term lightly, it again was extremely convenient) does provide answers to my questions, but not good ones. The whole thing felt like a cop out and I couldn’t help but think why did I both reading everything before this? Why build Maddy up to be this tragic figure when actually she isn’t one? And why – dear God why – villainise her mother? This is perhaps my biggest problem with the book, because clearly Maddy’s mother is mentally ill but she’s still turned into the bad guy. Yeah, what she did wasn’t great, but in her eyes it was the only thing she could do and she no doubt saw it as the best thing to do.

Ugh. It’s difficult to put into words just how I feel about this, as everything I want to say would turn into major spoilers and angry ranting. Just… Save yourself the boredom and frustration that Everything, Everything provides by avoiding it.


  1. I think I liked this book a lot more than you did, but I definitely agree that the vacation part wa soooo stupid. Maddy knew the risks of going outside but just decided to all for some guy she barely knows. It was so dumb.

    1. And after all that time indoors you'd expect a few more complications as she hasn't been exposed to half the stuff she would have likely encountered!

  2. This is disappointing! The book's blurb makes it sound intriguing (and very similar to the film 'My Girl').

    PS - I think your review gave the plot twist away anyway!

    1. I haven't seen My Girl but I'll take your word for it!
      And I wouldn't consider what happened a 'twist' per se as it was far too convenient. And I also make no claims about writing spoiler free reviews so read at your own risk, I suppose!

  3. When I read this book, I really loved it and I still like it a lot for a light read with a cutesy love story. I think the more reviews I read, the more issues I find myself agreeing with. I can definitely agree with the lack of explanation behind the illness. Seemed like the author couldn't be bothered actually researching it. Also, plot twist? Ridiculously convenient. It really bothers me now that the author erased that. It was interesting in theory but just didn't work. Great review Charlotte!

    1. I think you can still enjoy it, just be aware of the problems with it! At the heart of it Maddy and Olly have a cutesy romance.


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