Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Received from NetGalley for review.

Oh, this is so sweet. So sweet and heart-breaking and lovely and hard, all at the same time.

This is a book about love. All kinds of love and the way it can change you entirely. And the thing is, love does change you, whether it’s the love of a parent, a child, a friend…it doesn’t matter. Love has the power to change us all. Love has the power to make things worth living for, or dying for. Love, after all, is the only thing worth having for a lot of us, no matter the cost.

The blurb tells that us Madeline has lived with a very rare disease, essentially ‘bubble baby’ disease, where she is allergic to just about everything. She has stayed in her home, with her mother and nurse, and generally been content and happy and understanding of her lot in life. Until Olly. Olly and his family move in next door, and everything changes. Madeline and Olly start communicating. Madeline and Olly become friends. And then something more. Magic happens, sparks fly, and the world as they know it becomes something new.

I devoured this book in one sitting, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would – I read some spoilers about the ending and I was a bit put off, but having read it, I think it was actually a pretty perfect ending. The characters are wonderfully written and richly developed. The insights into both Maddy’s world – so sheltered and ordered and calm on the surface – and Olly’s world – darker, chaotic, ruled by an abusive father – are very well done and I found myself loving them both, and wanting more than anything for their relationship to find a way. That romantic I try to keep hidden deep inside? She was out in full force reading this, flinging glitter, rainbows and unicorns everywhere. The way Maddy and Olly’s friendship developed was both sweet and fiery, and I found going through Maddy’s various ‘firsts’ with her to be both exciting and intense.

I loved that Everything, Everything includes a main character who is part Japanese and part African American, addresses mental illness and abuse, and does it all with grace. Relationships are also handled sensitively and fairly – a lot happens in this book that centres around relationships, conflict and trust, and I found myself considering everyone’s side of the story, everyone’s perspective, even when what had been done was unforgivable (except Olly’s dad who is an inexcusable asshole). It also makes you question what is right and wrong, what is a life, what could be worth dying for; there is no shying away from big questions that don’t always have answers. The writing is lovely and it’s a very gripping, quick read, but one that has a lot to say and a lot of impact to make. I have to say I expect a lot from Yoon in the future, it’s going to be a bright one, that’s for sure.

Read: August 17th 2015

4/5 stars

3 thoughts on “Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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