Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Published: September 2015
Genre: young adult, contemporary
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.
Maddy is allergic to everything. She only interacts with her mother and Carla, her nurse. Everything other contact must go through a decontamination chamber for an hour and not be sick/have been around sick people, cannot touch Maddy, and cannot introduce new foods or clothes or fabrics to Maddy. No open windows or doors. Shaded spaces. Cleanliness. But then a family moves in next door, and Maddy’s interest in the world outside reawakens. Her curiosity over this noisy, rather abusive family is heightened when their son, Olly, manages to find a way to interact with Maddy. He clearly wants to find a way out of his own cage, and Maddy is the answer. For Maddy, Olly is her answer, too.
I was drawn far more to Maddy’s experience of the world — seeing everything through her eyes and wondering how much of her life was a ticking clock — than the romance. The romance was a great way to propel her out of her house (talk about an even faster, heart-pounding ticking clock!), but I was not drawn to the romance mostly because I wasn’t drawn to Olly. It seemed real enough, sure, and they discuss whether she loves him because she genuinely loves him or because he’s the only one she’s interacted with — but even still, if it weren’t for the romance, for that enticing slice of the Outside, Maddy wouldn’t have left her home.
Or discovered all the shocking things after leaving home. *dun dun dun*
Not only was Maddy’s situation an interesting and unique one — absolutely fascinating, this “bubble baby” scenario — but this book is another good tool to discuss mental illness and the impact it has on everyone outside of the primary individual. YA is loaded with mental illness books through the eyes of the mentally ill, rather than the friend or family member witnessing it and experiencing it from another perspective. Maddy, Olly, Carla, and Maddy’s mother all express and experience love in different ways. It’s amazing how love can inspire or hinder us. Love is worth everything, and everything is worth love. It’s how we act upon it that define who we are in this world.
Enhanced with the supplementary images, charts, tickets, and IM convos, this novel will send you for a spin across two extremes in environment: experiencing a pristine, glass world, and a world of chaos and vibrancy.