Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Madeline lives in a bubble.
She’s never left her house in seventeen years because she has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency(SCID); any contact with the outside world could trigger an extreme illness
So Maddy lives through the characters of her beloved books and limited interactions with her nurse, Carla, and mother.
Her life is a sequence of patterns until the day a new neighbor moves across the street: Ollie.
He brings all the promise of life, youth, and the vitality of the world outside. As the two begin to write to each other and secretly meet, something more than love start to blossom. Maddy begins to realize she cannot live the entirety of her life through books alone. Before she knows it, Maddy must make a choice between the safe bubble that’s been her entire world…..or take a chance on life.
From The Little Prince references to Maddy’s quick mind and Ollie’s parkour, Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything just had me from the first page.
Let’s start there!
At the beginning, Yoon establishes Maddy’s daily routine and state of isolation she is confined to in order to live. Despite the circumstances, Maddy has such a great sense of optimism, love of literary prose, and wit, which make her an incredibly endearing character.
In what would ordinarily feel like a claustrophobic environment in Maddy’s limited boundaries, readers are instead transported to outer space (through Yoon’s analogies) were we drift through Maddy’s white walls and empty halls. The world is far bellow and out of reach until we are tethered back to earth by Ollie.
Ollie’s vigor and mysterious treks up to his roof spark Maddy’s interest. Slowly, through late night emails and briefly enchanting encounters, the tether pulls us closer to earth until the time comes to touch the ground.
*semi spoiler alert*
Through Maddy, readers experience a plethora of firsts.
The thrill of a first love, the crisp night air that fills every corner of our being, the bittersweetness of a sunset, the infinity of an ocean, the heartbreak of loss, and utter joy for life are just some of the experiences that forever stay a part of our lives.
For me, when I finished reading Everything, Everything the world was new for a time. The rustling of the leaves from the pepper tree outside my window, amplified to quiet thunderstorms. I could see the varying hues of a sunray and small universes in dust motes, and feel completely in awe at the dizzying pace of life.
It was incredible to see a new world for a while filled with old curiosities.
YA all the way!
I truly find this book to be a perfect read for young adult readers.
The chemistry and inevitable love between Maddy and Ollie make you smile the entire time.
There are enough literary references to spark interest, but not overwhelm.
The format is very engaging! It’s full of email/IM formats to spiraling text and imaginative illustrations.
This story is an easy read for a afternoon(s) read and is rounded enough to satisfy readers (even an avid bookworm).
Love is what breaks us from the patters and bubbles in our lives and sets us free to embrace everything…absolutely everything.