I think this book is on verge of getting over-hyped by the book community, so even though I really enjoyed it, I don’t want people to go into it thinking it’s going to be the best young adult novel they’re ever going to read. There’s a lot to recommend Everything, Everything though. Nicola Yoon’s first novel brims with easygoing, pleasant prose and well-written characters. For a short book, she really brought the characters to life. That’s probably partly because she has such a talent for dialogue. Everything spoken felt realistic, even the online conversations the characters have.
I suppose I should back up and fill people in on the basics of the plot. Maddy is an 18-year-old girl with SCID (aka bubble baby disease). What this means is that she’s basically a prisoner in her disinfected home. If she goes outside she could quickly and easily die. When a cute boy moves in next door, Maddy strikes up an unlikely and unconventional friendship with him. Her relationship with him is a highlight of the book because it never falls into cheesy clichés.
On one hand, this book realistically portrays the hardships of chronic illness and the complex emotions that go along with it. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a significant subplot involving mental illnesses and abusive relationships. While I’m glad this kind of issue is getting realistic portrayal in young adult literature, I’m not sure I agree with some of the attitudes towards abuse victims in here. There seemed to be a lot of judgment towards both victims who don’t get out of there as well as towards victims who do get space. Sorry for the vagueness, but trying to discuss my issues with this book while not spoiling everything is… difficult.
Anyway, for being a book about some really dark topics, it’s actually a pretty lighthearted read. Things never get too depressing and there is a lot of optimism. I will say that it truly is a young adult book. I enjoyed it as an adult, but I think teenagers would have a stronger emotional response to it.