“In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.”
Written by Nicola Yoon and published in 2005, Everything, Everything follows Maddy, a teenage girl who suffers from a rare immunodeficiency disorder which makes her allergic to the world. Having spent her whole life confined to her home, she is cared for by her mother, Pauline, and her carer, Carla, the only two people she has regular contact with. But one day, a moving truck arrives next door. This is when Maddy meets Olly, a tall, lean boy who likes to wear all black. As she begins to communicate with him online, her life begins to change as Olly introduces to her a world full of colour and feelings that she has never experienced before. For the first time ever, she wants something, everything; everything that the world has to offer.
The following post is a review of the book only. You can read my review of the film in comparison to the book here.
I read this book in one sitting on my summer holiday. It’s a short and sweet romance with likeable characters, a quick-paced adventure, and an original twist on your generic boy-meets-girl.
The story is quite predictable but it’s still intriguing and enjoyable due to its short length. It’s definitely a young adult romance so I certainly felt my age with it, but Maddy and Olly are both engaging characters and their romance is bittersweet.
With illustrations, note pages and snippets of book reviews intertwined in the story, the book works almost like a diary, with Maddy documenting her daily routine, detailing her medications and test results, and giving us more insight into her mind through short snippets of her day-to-day activities and thought processes.
With the use of instant messaging, as well, these narrative techniques all allow the story to be told in a quick pace, making conversations snappy and using illustrations to show things on a single page rather than having to go into detail about them. Not only is this visually appealing, making every page of the book look different and unique, but it is because of how quickly you can get through the story that makes it so interesting, as it would have been more sentimental and cliche if it was drawn out more than necessary.
Because of that, Everything, Everything is an enjoyable read that you can delve into for a few hours and come away feeling cheery and light. For younger readers especially, the romance will also be one to swoon over and Olly a character to daydream about hoping to find for yourself one day. I’ve definitely outgrown that, but I do still think that Yoon captures the feelings of a first-time romance in a really lovely way.
Everything, Everything was adapted into a film in 2017 which you can read my comparison review for here or watch the trailer for below: