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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.
~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
Nicola Yoon’s debut Everything, Everything was nothing like I expected it to be, and I was impressed. Madeleine (Maddy) has spent her whole life in confinement. She has never been to a regular school and does not have real friends because she cannot go outside and it is extremely difficult for her to make her mother allow anyone to come inside. Maddysuffers from SCID, a disease that means that she’s allergic to the outside world; even a minute outside could break Madeleine’s weak immune system.
Though Madeleine dreams about the outside world, she is as happy as she can be in her home filled with books. But then a new family moves to the house next door and Madeleine gets increasingly intrigued by Olly, the boy next door. Through online chat, they connect and Madeleine starts to think that maybe she would rather have a couple of days in the dangerous outside than a lifetime in the protection of inside.
Madeline was an enjoyable character to read about. I understand her since it was her first love in a lot of ways I justified her actions as she doesn’t know anything else. She just wants to live her life while she can. I assumed Olly was going to be an irritating, ‘bad boy who lives next door’ but I’m glad I was wrong. He was caring, funny and, overall, a decent male character. Character development was clear in each and every character.
There isn’t a lot to say about the setting as its mainly all in Maddy’s house but it was great to see things through the eyes of someone that lived in her house for seventeen years without leaving it.
The writing style was also great, and inside there are illustrations, IM chats, and it was really cute! With EE I was most excited to see how Yoon uses short chapters, consisting of instant messages, emails as well as illustrations to tell the story of Madeleine and Olly. The illustrations, made by Yoon’s husband, are beautiful and I have a feeling my Fire HD screen did not do justice to them, which means I definitely need to get my hands on a physical copy of this novel.
However, there were a few plot inconsistency and things that irked me but they’re all spoilers
- Why did no one question that fact she never had a proper diagnosis? Considering the high expensive equipment she needs, it just doesn’t seem plausible that any doctor would allow this to happen.A girl with a rare disorder like Maddy’s couldn’t possibly go unnoticed.
- Why do the nurses that always looked after Maddy never thought anything was wrong, I presumed they were trained to know how to take care of a patient in that situation?
- Like at one point Maddy runs out of the house to Olly (because his father is abusing him) and she’s out there in seconds. But, previously, we’ve been told there’s this whole airlock thing on the door that one must go through.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book, but towards the end and its change in narrative, it felt rushed and was slightly odd, if I’m honest.