Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ARC Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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.

Page Count: 320 

Publisher: Random House/ Delacorte 

Publication Date: September 1, 2015 

Everything, Everything is hands-down one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. 

I received an ARC of this book in the mail the other day and immediately began to read it, figuring that I would just read a chapter or two before bed.  Well, that backfired slightly, and I ended up reading the entire book in an hour and a half.  It was just that good. 

This is one of the first books I’ve ever read where the protagonist is colored, and it was GREAT!  Maddy’s complexion is described as being “Exactly fifty-fifty mixture of my mom and dad.”  She goes on to describe her rich, brown olive skin and big, wavy dark hair.  The fact that Maddy is biracial is a fantastic character trait, and I give so many kudos to Ms. Yoon for making Maddy unique in this way.  I love seeing diverse characters in literature, and Maddy having this diverse character trait proves that a fantastic story is a fantastic story regardless of the color of a character’s skin. 

One thing that I really loved about this book was the developed mother-daughter relationship.  Great mother-daughter relationships are scarce in the YA scene, as most novels either depict a troublesome relationship between mothers and their daughters, or absentee parents all together.  It’s a rare gem to come across a YA novel where the protagonist has a strong connection with their parent(s), and it really sets  Everything, Everything apart from other YA novels.    I remember reading an article where Ms. Yoon said that she was inspired to write this book from the way she wants to protect her daughter from the world, just like Maddy’s mom has to protect Maddy from the outside world.  This translation of ideas works seamlessly, and gives Maddy’s mother an even deeper depth to her character. 

There seems to be a growing “trend” in YA literature consisting of books told from the perspective of a sick teenager, usually with a terminal illness such as Cancer.  However, Maddy’s struggle to cope with her SCIDs diagnosis, even after having lived with it for nearly 17 years, is anything but cliché.  Ms. Yoon brings such a new, important light to a condition that is kept very under the radar, yet effects tens of thousands of Americans per year.  It’s refreshing, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all at the same time.  It makes your heart break for all the kids that live a very similar lifestyle to that of the one Maddy has grown accustomed to, yet it makes your heart swell with pride for how courageous it makes Maddy. 

Maddy’s courage and strength in this book is truly remarkable, and gives beloved heroines like Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) and Tris Prior (Divergent by Veronica Roth) a run for their money.  The fact that she, on her own, decides to leave her pristine “bubble” and venture out into the real world while holding death’s hand along the way is a true testament to her character.  There’s nothing easy about Maddy’s story- every page from the first chapter onwards is ridden with sorrowful undertones- but her ability to rise above this sorrow and choose to live the life she wants at heart, despite the restrictions placed on her life, make her one of the bravest literary heroes of our time. 

Moving on to a less-serious topic… the romance.  Oh my goodness, the romance in this book is as swoon-worthy as ever!  Just as Maddy has captured one half of my heart, Olly- the mysterious, tattooed, boy next door- has captured the other half.  The way he cares for and loves Maddy despite her illness is incredible, and is not something that many teenagers nowadays would go out of their way to do.  It’s beautiful, really, and I don’t think there are any other words to properly describe Olly and Maddy’s relationship other than that: beautiful.  I know my heart aches for an Olly of my own, and I have no doubt that he will work his way into the hearts of many, many readers very soon. 

Adding to the list of things I absolutely love about this book is the writing.  The writing is absolutely gorgeous, and there are dozens of beautifully-written quotes to pull from this book.  There's so many i'd love to get wall-prints of!  That is how effortlessly gorgeous this novel is. I just want to take it everywhere, display it everywhere, and show it to the world!  

I have no doubt in my mind that Everything, Everything will become an instant bestseller, and it hands-down deserves all the fame and love that will undoubtedly come its way!  It is a groundbreaking novel on so many levels, and is such an important read.  Everything, Everything has definitely been added to my list of books that I will recommend to anybody and everybody. 

UPDATE: It was just announced today (August 26) that MGM has optioned the film rights for Everything, Everything!  It is said that screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe (who directed the movie “Age of Adeline” which debuted earlier this year) will adapt the screenplay.  How exciting! 

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