Books · reviews

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

everything everythingEverything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
in September 2015.

Madeline can’t go outside because she’s allergic to almost everything. She spends her days with her nurse, Carla, and her evenings with her doting mother. She hasn’t left the house since she was a baby, but she’s okay with that. In fact, everything is going fine until the new neighbors move in, and with them their teenage son Olly. Almost overnight Madeline finds her perfectly balanced world thrown upside down. It starts with some seemingly harmless emails and IMs, but soon devolves into daydreams about what it would be like to hold Olly’s hand or kiss him. But one touch from Olly could kill her, so they have to be careful.

Everything, Everything is a classic story of forbidden love and what it’s like to feel those first butterflies in your stomach. Olly and Madeline come from completely different worlds– and not just because she can’t leave her house. Olly’s dad is an abusive drunk. Molly’s mom is caring and overprotective. Though none of the adult characters in the book, except maybe Carla, seem to have their lives together.

Olly and Maddy spend a lot of time in this book IMing with each other. As a result, Yoon’s book is told in a “scrapbook” style, consisting of snippets of their IM conversations, emails, documents, and diary entries combined with more traditional chapters of narrative. The result is a fun, light read. Like all great romances, these two teenagers soon find that IMs are not enough and with the help of Carla, they arrange to meet face-to-face. You can practically feel the sexual tension between the two of them during these scenes, where every touch is electric.

While the romantic scenes in this book are pretty believable (well, as far as YA romances go), as the plot progresses, you’ll need to suspend some of your disbelief. Some of the things that happen later in the book I just couldn’t see happening in real life. Still, the payoff is worth it in the end. Everything, Everything is a sweet love story that is also clever and funny. It’s a story about first experiences and taking chances. It’s been almost a decade since I graduated high school, but Everything, Everything managed to recapture all those feelings anew for me. That, I’d say, is a good book.


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