Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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“Maybe there’s a version of your life for all the choices you make and all the choices you don’t.”

Maddy is allergic to the world. At eighteen, she’s – quite literally – never left home. Her life revolves around books, making architectural models, the internet, her nurse Carla and her mum. Then, a family moves into the previously-empty house next door and Maddy meets Olly. Olly likes parkour and limericks, he dresses head to toe in black clothes and he doesn’t care for the fact that his dad is a bad drunk. Basically, Olly is complicated. And funny. And he shouldn’t make Maddy want more than what she already has – more than her books and her television shows – but he does. He makes her want everything.

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Everything, Everything uses an extraordinary collection of narrative media to inform the reader and Nicola Yoon’s husband, David, did a wonderful job with the illustrations. Expect airline tickets, guidebook pages, online shopping baskets, emails, funny diagrams and homework sheets, IMs, emails and pithy ‘Life Is Short’ bookish blog posts.

The effect of this is to give the novel an immediate and deeply personal tone, which makes Maddy’s plight and her experience of first love seem even more compelling. So this was a very difficult book to put down.

And the ending… Part of me was over the moon with happiness and part of me was very sad for Maddy – because the ending changed everything.

Final Verdict: Tender and charming, intelligent and witty, always heart-wrenching; I can certainly see why this debut had so many people talking about it back in 2015. Thankfully, this is not your standard sick-lit book.

Spoiler alert: NOBODY DIES.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

    • When I first read the synopsis I thought the exact same thing! But the comparison sort of ends there; when reading Everything, Everthing I didn’t think about Bubble Boy once (which was kinda sad, because I loved that movie!).

  1. The ending just killed me but I’m so happy that not everything was tied up. I definitely need to get a physical copy of this to just stare at the illustrations for hours XD

  2. thank you for the spoiler alert — your book reviews this week make me need to know there’s some sort of happiness in the end, and that no one dies! I am impressed with the use of narrative media in this — I wonder if we’ll see more of this moving forward. I hope so, I think it does add a different dimension to a read as a result.

    • It definitely does and I predict we will start to see more of it! Jandy Nelson’s ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ was my first experience with this type of book, if you haven’t read that one then you definitely should. It’s the best book about grief I’ve ever read.

  3. Sounds wonderful even though sad, I only read a few YA books but I read one something like this and it was so special even though heart breaking. And it sat on my TBR for a few years before I got to it!

  4. I JUST read a slightly negative review of this book that said the plot grew dull, so I’m glad to hear you had a better experience! The unusual narration style is definitely the main hook that’s drawing me in on this one, and it’s great that it gives the novel a more personal tone. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this one as much as you did!

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