Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

In my last book review, I talked briefly about how I like to read books before I watch the movie adaptation. So, of course, when I heard that Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon was being made into a film (and starring two wonderful, young actors), I really wanted to read this book. Which is odd, right? Because it's not a fantasy story. It's a contemporary YA with romance. Still I was intrigued. So I checked the book out from my library, and after several hours in a car, I finished it.

Everything Everything is about a girl named Maddy who has a rare disease that makes her allergic to pretty much anything outside. Thus, she cannot go outside. Thus, she's been locked in her house for the past eighteen years--like a modern-day Rapunzel--spending her time reading books, watching movies, and daydreaming. Until a family moves in next door and she sees Olly. Thus, her life is dramatically changed forever. And it's, as she narrates, a disaster.

I'm kind of torn when it comes to Everything Everything. I can definitely see a lot of flaws with this kind of story. So Maddy is essentially allergic to everything, right? Then how can anything be in the house with her? How can she even read books or eat food or whatever? It wasn't very clear what exactly she was allergic to (sunshine? fresh air? blue skies and rainbows?), but she was stuck in a house for her entire existent. Thus, some of the plot and the events that happen are predictable as well.

Most of the time, I can't switch off the part of my brain that nitpicks the little details of the plot and setting in a book. Most of the time, I question everything because flawed writing is annoying. But for some reason with this book, I just let it go and allowed myself to enjoy the story. And it was adorable.

A lot of the story is internal thoughts--Maddy's through process and almost record of her days. There are chat messages and books reviews and medical forms and other unique additions included as part of the progression of the story. It was an interesting way to show her life inside the house.

I could probably read volumes of Maddy's narration--like I want to read about her entire life starting from when she first learned to speak/write until the events of this story begin. I want every detail of how life was inside that house for eighteen years. Her life inside a "bubble" is very interesting and has a lot of material for a unique story. Maddy's character was unbelievably adorable. I loved her daydreams and her spoiler book reviews and the way she looked at the world. She was funny and adorable. She was fun to get to know, and I think I would enjoy being friends with her. (She's also half-Asian, half-African American, so that's just awesome.)

Olly was interesting to get to know. As I read, Maddy's perspective of him kind of made you fall a little in love with him too. He wasn't a standard, cardboard cut-out of a YA male love interest, so that was cool. He was his own character and person. He had his own life, thoughts, and dreams.

Basically, Everything Everything can be predictable and at times illogical (or at least some stuff isn't completely explained), but it's still a good book. It's a work of fiction, so it's allowed to have things that aren't 100% perfect or realistic. This makes for a great modern-day Rapunzel story (minus the evil witch, sort of), and I enjoyed it immensely. It has given me hope to try YA contemporary books again. And I'm looking forward to reading Yoon's next book The Sun Is Also a Star. So if you can turn off the logical part of your brain and just let the story be, I think you'll enjoy it a lot.

What other YA contemporaries do you enjoy reading?

I checked this book out from my local library and chose to review it of my own free will. 

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