At the beginning of the summer, every advertisement had been about the movie Everything Everything coming out in theaters. Once I realized it was based on a book, I decided to read it before I saw the movie.
The book Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a story about a girl named Madeline. Madeline has a disease that makes it unsafe for her to leave the sterile “bubble” of her home and therefore is unable to ever go outside. Because of this, the only people she has every really talked to are her mother, her nurse Carla, and Carla’s daughter Rosa, since the process for guests is lengthy. She is quite smart and loves to read, and the book is full of literary references that are admittedly a bit over-explained but are still interesting and relevant. Sometimes those references can feel forced and heavy-handed in stories, so at first I was a little hesitant, but I thought the author did a good job incorporating them and using them to shine a light on Madeline’s personality.
The real plot begins win a new boy moves in next door, and he and Madeline can’t help but start talking. This, of course, leads to a whirlwind of events and emotions between the two characters, their different home situations, and the twists and turns that happen as they build a relationship despite the limits placed on them by Madeline’s disease. I won’t give away the plot or the ending, but it does have some surprises and keeps you involved until the end.
The book was honestly pretty good. It was very cheesy and parts of it seemed a little out of place, like the fact that Madeline and her new friend communicate with IM and emails…. However! I still really enjoyed it. A lot of the book I could imagine actually happening, although there were some moments where the characters’ actions (especially the mom’s actions) didn’t really seem realistic. It captured what its like to have a new crush in high school, where all you want to do is stay up and talk and it feels like the most important thing in the world. I did feel like the characters were a little contrived and formulaic. Like the neighbor boy is dark and brooding and literally leaning against the wall in a black tee shirt, which I feel like is the start of every boy-the-girl-is-going-to-have-a-crush-on-moves-in-next-door story. Especially cringe-worthy were the extensive efforts to make them opposites-who-would-then-attract: she’s trapped inside, and he’s literally climbing the walls (because he is into parkour); she’s wearing white, and he’s wearing black; her mother is her closest friend and his father is his worst enemy, etc. I did love the cheesy dialogue in their early emails and IMs though, because it felt realistic and made you cringe the same way you would reading your journal from middle school. The writing was okay, but I did feel it was written for a younger audience and would really be best suited for middle-schoolers.
So I do recommend this book to all the hopeless romantics out there, even if it’s a little contrived. I was really glad to have read it before I saw the movie, because seeing the movie first would have given away the story and I think if I’d known the whole story first the book wouldn’t have been worth reading since it’s heavily plot-driven. The story is a fast read and enjoyable for what it is.