Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review: "Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

"Just because you can't experience everything doesn't mean you shouldn't experience anything."

Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything is a love story. But beyond the boy/girl romance in the book, it's also about parental love, and loving yourself, and the consequences that occur when we think we're doing the right things for love's sake. It's sweet, engaging, and moving, even if it's a bit predictable, and like many YA books out there these days, the characters are tremendously insightful and articulate. And did I mention it was moving? (Or maybe I have something in my eye.)

All Maddie knows is the incredibly sheltered life she's lived for as long as she can remember. Suffering from a severe immune disease, the act of simply going outside, or coming into contact with someone or something that hasn't been decontaminated, could cause her to become fatally ill. She reads, takes classes online, and spends time with her nurse and her mother, and dreams about what the outside world might be like. And she wishes something could change.

And then one day a moving van pulls in next door, revealing a new family, which includes Olly, a teenage boy about Maddie's age. He is dressed all in black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap—and the moment he looks up at Maddie's window and waves to her, she knows she's in trouble. But she's never been allowed to even make friends, so how can she hope to get to know Olly, or even more? Is love, and living beyond what you believed possible, worth risking your life for?

This was a quick, fun read. Maddie was a great character, and I really enjoyed Olly as well, and although this was Maddie's story, I wouldn't have minded getting his perspectives on things, especially about the turmoil in his own life. I suspected at one point where the plot would go, so it wasn't a surprise to me, but I enjoyed this book very much anyway. The chemistry between the two of them was really engaging, and reminiscent of a lot of other YA books I've really loved in the last few years.

Yoon tells a great story, and she livens it up with journal entries, medical records, lists, and other items. I'm not ashamed to admit the book choked me up, and while it's not quite on par with some of my favorite YA books (Eleanor & Park, All the Bright Places, The Fault in Our Stars), this has a terrific charm all its own.

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