Book Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

12 March 2016

I bought this book back in January, whilst browsing through and looking for new reads for the year. It came up in my recommendations as I have bought lots of young adult books (Rainbow Rowell and John Green-esque) from Amazon, so I glanced over a few reviews and it went straight into my basket. And I absolutely loved it!

Everything, Everything is the story of seventeen year old Maddie, who has never left her home because she has a rare condition called SCID, which means she is allergic to everything. She lives in a safe bubble, where she can only breathe in filtered air and the only people she knows are the ones who take care of her; one is her nurse and the other her mother, who is also her doctor. With no communication with anyone her age, she immerses herself in books to pass her time until a new family moves in next door.

Despite her condition, we see Maddie develop a friendship through posters in her bedroom window and IM's with her cool new neighbour, Olly, who is equally as intrigued by her as she is by him and his family. And as in most coming of age stories, we see her struggle with the thoughts of wanting to turn this friendship into something more.

This is how it's described on-line:
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."

It is definitely a book about first love and teenage angst, but has serious underlying themes that come to the surface, such as grief, isolation, alcoholism and illness. It also highlights the fragile but very important relationship between a teenage girl and her mother, and whether you have a life-threatening condition or not, you will definitely be able to relate to the feeling of needing independence and your own space.

I also love the fact that Maddie is half African-American and half Japanese; I haven't come across any other YA novels where the protagonist is a woman of colour so this is something I'd love to see more.

Everything, Everything had me hooked, I couldn't put it down so it was a fairly quick read for me. However, I do wish it was longer and more detailed particularly towards the end of the book. There was so much more I wanted to know about Maddie, Olly and certain twists in the storyline that I felt the second half of the book lacked slightly in the 'feelings' department than the first. But in no way was I disappointed with the book, I just wanted more!

If you've read this I'd love to know your thoughts, and if you have any good YA recommendations, particularly ones with diverse characters please leave a comment!