Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (ARC)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
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.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This doesn't affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this.

"I wasn't fully convinced by the story and a lot of it seemed unrealistic to me."

Woah is this a hyped book in the blogging community right now! I started reading this right around the time the hype really took off, so I had pretty high expectations. The premise of the story is really interesting and totally new, and the cover is simply gorgeous.

The first thing I noticed about the book was the format. The mixed format/mixed media was very well done. At times, we got to see the story from both Maddy and Olly's point of view (but not in the traditional sense), and it was spaced out enough that it was tasteful and didn't overwhelm. It added to the story and was certainly effective. The short chapters also make this a quick read without feeling choppy.

But I finished feeling conflicted about the book and the story. I think we got a good sense of the characters, particularly Maddy and Olly, and the two of them were certainly complex, but there was little else. Of course, it makes sense because Maddy hardly knows anyone, but I felt like we were missing something in that. There could have been more development in the other characters, but I could also understand the focus on Maddy and Olly. Their interactions were one of my favorite parts of the first half of the story. But later on in the book, I just started to find so much of it to be completely irrational, and I couldn't see that ever happening, logistically and otherwise. It left me feeling unconvinced, uncomfortable, and almost annoyed. When they [SPOILERS] ran away together, I just felt so uncomfortable about the whole situation. It just seemed so unrealistic, particularly given the circumstances they're both in--but particularly Maddy. [END SPOILERS]

In addition, though I started off really supporting their relationship, that started to change as the story went on. There's something about the way in which the relationship developed that just bothered me. I hated feeling as though she just fell for Olly because he was a guy that just happened to pay attention to her. I can understand how refreshing that may have felt for her, but I feel as though her feelings developed more from that than from really being attracted to him as a person. The romance arc felt a bit like that of Romeo and Juliet.

But the biggest thing that irked me was probably Maddy's illness itself and the way it was portrayed and explained. After reading Cait's review, I realized that I had found similar plot holes, though I didn't really think about it until after I finished reading. But even beyond that, unlike many others, the ending honestly didn't surprise me. There were hints along the way that weren't difficult for me to piece together. I don't want to spoil anything, but it was just so obvious to me. I had expected it early on in the story. In addition, her body's reaction to being outside seemed wrong to me. If you're in a sterile environment your whole life and haven't been exposed to almost anything and all of a sudden go out into the world, where you're surrounded by different bacteria and just things (I'm not science-y enough to really say any of this for sure) that your body has never built up a resistance to, you're going to get sick pretty quickly. But oh look, Maddy is fine. I mean, it does help build up to the reveal at the end, but at the same time, it's not consistent with someone who's been so sheltered her entire life. (Speaking of that, it's so sad that her mother would subject her to that kind of life. I can understand her mother's motivation, but I think part of learning how to live and take care of yourself and be safe is to be in situations where you have to help yourself. Without life experiences, how can you grow? How can you learn to save yourself? Her mother's logic just astounds me.)

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but it wasn't as great to me as it seems to have been for others. I wasn't fully convinced by the story and a lot of it seemed unrealistic to me. I didn't like the way chronic illness was addressed and used as a plot device. But I didn't hate the story, the characters, or the book either. It just didn't have the wow factor at all. I can see why others would enjoy it, but this didn't completely work for me.
Everything, Eveything: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Nicola Yoon: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram 


  1. I almost bought this book the other day and now I'm not sure I regret passing it up. The blurb kind of grabbed me because I'm a sucker for romance, but I'm not sure I'd really enjoy it. Great review!

  2. I almost bought this book the other day and now I'm not sure I regret passing it up. The blurb kind of grabbed me because I'm a sucker for romance, but I'm not sure I'd really enjoy it. Great review!


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