Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 27 August, 2015
Source: Random House UK via NetGalley

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.
Review by Nara

Everything, Everything was a book I was really looking forward to. I have a fascination with books about characters with illnesses, and had never heard of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), so was looking forward to being educated.

Unfortunately, I think I might have ruined the end of the book for myself because of how I looked up SCID (in a fair bit of detail). I mean, I was interested in what it was because of my medical background, and wanted to see if the author would portray the disease accurately. All I could think throughout the novel was how poorly the author was able to convey information about the disease- I'm assuming the majority of people reading this book wouldn't have any background information about SCID, and would have appreciated a bit more information than just "I'm allergic to everything" (which kind of isn't accurate, because it's not that SCID sufferers are allergic to things, it's that they can't defend themselves against infections due to a lack of immune cells). I'm not really going to say much about how accurately the disease seemed to be shown, because that goes into spoilery territory, but I can say that I had a few raised eyebrows for the majority of the book.

The romance with Olly was probably the main plotline in the novel, and I thought this was relatively well done in terms of the actual development of the relationship. On the other hand, it was ridiculously irresponsible of Maddy to move forward with the romance. I mean, sure, you think you love the guy, but is it really worth dying to kiss someone once? Maddy also does something completely reckless towards the end of the novel, which would have been quite dangerous for the average person with severe immunodeficiency. Again, I found it difficult to understand why you'd take the risk for relatively little return.

There's a big twist at the end of the novel which pretty much turns everything in the book upside down. Reading through the reviews of my GR friends, it seems that this twist either completely shocked people into raising their ratings, or it disgusted people so much they lowered their ratings. I kind of predicted the twist, personally (because, as I said before, I knew a bit too much about SCID), but I think I was more on the side of people lowering their ratings. I can't say too much here because of spoilers, but I definitely didn't like how the twist changed everything.

I don't know...many, many people have really enjoyed this book, so I'm thinking I might just be a bit of a black sheep for this one. If the book sounds interesting to you, I'd still say give it a go. Just maybe don't look up SCID until after you've finished it.

It was okay
Overall: 5/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4.5/5