ARC via Netgalley // Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1, 2015
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This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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.
Let me start off with this: when I think of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, what I think of is not tragedy and a novel littered in emotional land-mines and doodles depicting the hopes of a girl trapped by an illness. Nope. What I think of when I think about EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is a bundt cake, and boy who has the ability to hope (and hope and hope) and a fish whose name I won’t even attempt to spell. Because that would be a disaster. It looks a little like hakunamatata. I think. *grins sheepishly*
Maddy is locked up in a room with white walls, where the only color and taste of the world outside her door are in books. This is because she has been diagnosed with SCID. She’s basically allergic to the outside. You can’t miss what you never know, and she’s never known or wanted to know the world outside of her walls. That is, until Olly and his family move next door and she’s kept up at night with her secret spy missions and tales of cake tragedies. Also IMs and emails and dreams of a boy who sees her as Maddy. Not penitent or daughter. Both of those would be a strange way to view her.
This book is not a romance story. This book is a learning to live and don’t let yourself get lost in the motions and a don’t live your life by a list book. I mean, duh, there’s romance in it. Olly is swoon worthy. Even if I want head over heels for the actual love aspect. Since he’s literally like the only guy she’s ever talked to besides her architect professor. But I suppose everyone has to have their first time, first love. And Olly was lovely. That boy. Goodness gracious, he can pretty much do no wrong. Even the wrong he did wasn’t wrong. It was actually adorable. But that’s not the point. The point is that EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon is not a love story. It’s a live your life, take chances, find yourself story.
And I freaking love it.