Monday, 17 August 2015

Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: August 27th 2015
Publisher: Corgi Children’s/Penguin Random House Children’s
Length: 320 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Corgi Children’s/Penguin Random House Children’s for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

There has been so much buzz around this book, and with a blurb like that who’s surprised? So I was more than a little curious and definitely had some high expectations when I started reading, and on the most part, those expectations were met.

There are some truly brilliant and gasp out loud moments and twists, which I really don’t want to ruin, so I’m going to come back and do a more in depth review at a later point when everyone has had more of a chance to read it. However in the mean-time, there is so much to love about this book, but also a few things that I think will be quite polarizing for some readers.

I adored Maddy, she was such a bright and determined protagonist, and I couldn’t help but love her right from the start. She’s a bookworm! She writes fun and crazy rewards inside her books if they’re found by someone else! Plus, diversity for the win, she’s half African-American and half Japanese! I also loved the relationship between her and her Mum for the first three quarters of the novel, because so often in young adult fiction we see parent/child relationships that really aren’t good. They don’t talk, or they ignore them, or there’s abuse or addiction of some kind, of they just are apathetic full stop. Which, ok, fair enough, not every relationship is perfect, but for once it was nice to see a mother and daughter getting along, for her to feel guilty about keeping secrets, for them to have movie nights and games nights and to actually communicate and talk. Yes ok, things happen towards the end which put a whole different spin on everything, but for the first three quarters of the novel I loved seeing this relationship between the two of them. I loved Maddy having to get to grips with how she felt about keeping things from her Mum, and to see the relationship play out. Plus they play phonetic scrabble which is just AWESOME.

Then there is Olly and the relationship between the two of them, which is brilliant. I fell in love with Olly and Maddy from the first glance out of the window, though all the crazy interactions that follow. I found myself frequently laughing out loud and getting the warm fuzzies as they got to know each other. I absolutely loved those first few weeks of communication through mime and insanity through the window, they were brilliant!

However, as wonderful as all those things were, there were still quite a few issues that meant that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was expecting to, and left me feeling quite conflicted at the end about how I actually felt about it.
One of my biggest frustrations is when books leave gaping plot holes and things that make no sense as you’re reading it, and then suddenly you reach the end and everything clicks into place and makes sense again. I appreciate the need for the holes then, but past me did not appreciate the holes at the time that I was reading them. It’s a fine line that authors have to navigate, plot holes to make the end make sense vs. not so gaping plot holes so the reader doesn’t have a break down over said plot holes whilst they’re reading.
And this book was full of holes.

We never learn anything about SCID really, which is a shame because I was looking forward to being given a small piece of education about something I know nothing about. I was expecting an experience akin to when I read ‘Extraordinary Means’ by Robyn Schneider and suddenly learned a lot more about TB than when I’d started. But apart from a brief, hey I have this thing! at the start of the novel, that’s it. Maddy doesn’t even explain it to Olly, which I found highly bizarre. Then there’s the food. For someone who is allergic to everything, Maddy sure does eat whatever she fancies (apart from one brief mention of a meal where she can only eat a couple of the original ingredients) which I found really weird to read. I have allergies, and it affects everything. I have to be so insanely careful about what I eat, but Maddy’s allergies seemed to be totally random – she could eat chicken but not duck or sausage, huh?

The events in the last third of the novel also presented some problems for me, but as I said, I’m going to wait and do a more in depth post when people have had a chance to read the book as I don’t want to spoil anything.

All in all this is going to be a novel that gets people talking. There are things people will love and things they’ll hate, and some people won’t be bothered by the plot holes at all. Regardless I cannot wait to see the reaction when this book hits the shelves. It’s a fascinating book, full of sweet, funny and beautiful moments, and a lot of plot points that will get people talking. So I highly recommend picking it up and giving the story a chance – I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.


  1. I've seen this around various blogs a bit and I'm intrigued! Your lovely review has made me more so - this sounds really interesting and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, despite certain aspects. Great review! :)
    Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf

    1. Thanks so much for reading, and I'm glad you're intrigued! This is definitely a good book to be intrigued by! I really hope you enjoy it!