Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
Patient E.E. – Everything, Everything – was hospitalized today at 4pm after having been rushed to the emergency room by ambulance, showing symptoms of lovesickness and QPPTS (“questionable problematic plot twist syndrome”). Electrolytes now stable, status to be monitored hourly. Advised treatment for immediate care after full check-up: 1 mg of 3 stars.
✓ I really enjoyed the main character Maddy. She’s such an engaging, creative, and innocent character. I found her multi-racial heritage (Afro-Asian) to be quite refreshing in a YA contemporary, even though it was not thematised a lot. Having never truly been outside since her diagnosis, it was wonderful to witness all of Maddy’s ‘Firsts’, as her unlikely relationship with Olly, the boy who has moved in next door, commences.
✓ This book contains an overflow of humour. My face was constantly doing gymnastics during the read (well, at least some of my muscles are getting the much-needed work-out)
✓ The romance made me wary at first but won me over eventually. At the beginning, I had serious issues with Maddy seeking out personal contact with Olly – not that I couldn’t empathize, but for Christ’s sake, she was putting her health in danger with her romantic shenanigans. But then again, teenagers are reckless lunatics, and it occurred to me that this health-endangerig behaviour was similar to teenage patients refusing to comply with a treatment, for example taking their meds. After this realization, my pissiness – schhh it’s a word – subdued, letting me enjoy the romantic storyline. Maddy and Olly are really cute together, and I felt my heart swell to twice its size whenever Olly did something earth-shatteringly sweet, like his stunt with the Bundt cake.
✓ Maddy’s nurse and confidante, Carla, is the bomb.
✓ I appreciate that Yoon broaches other issues in her book, besides illness and first love, for example domestic violence.
✓ The online messages with Olly, little sketches from Maddy’s diary and other illustrations added a great deal to the diverse reading experience.
✓ The main message.
Spoiler reviews by Madeline
THE LITTLE PRINCE BY ANTOINE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
Spoiler Alert. Love is worth everything. Everything.
✘ With the subtle hints that Yoon places, I saw that game-changing twist coming halfway into the book. My expectation of said twist dampened both my excitement and my outrage at the preposterous direction the plot took. The editors definitely didn’t think through how this book could negatively affect adolescents with a chronic illness. Oh, such ignorance. Whether it is believable or not, the book’s content is highly offensive to people who suffer from SCID or any other chronic illness in real life.
✘ This brings forth a million-dollar question: Is this plot twist believable? If you’ve read the book, you will most likely click on that green “View Spoiler” button. I must warn you beforehand: prepare for a speech. From a medical perspective: View Spoiler » From a medical perspective, yes and no. My father is a physician and it is easy to shield your children from seeing other doctors if you have access to all sorts of medication and treatments yourself. However, the people I know who are suffering from severe diseases or disorders spend a lot of time on Google obsessing about them, and understandably so. Therefore, I state that Maddy not finding out on her own that she does not actually have SCID is… a bit unlikely. Also, that the nurse would suspect and not say anything? Weird. « Hide Spoiler. From a psychological perspective: View Spoiler »Let’s discuss her mother’s “insanity”, which is where I will go on a rampage. Her mother, having lost her husband and her son, is most likely suffering from PTSD. However, her delusional behaviour would suggest something along the lines of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can actually increase the probability of suffering from PTSD after a traumatic event… but I digress. Given that her mother admitted to the truth quite quickly, schizophrenia is highly unlikely. So, for a mother suffering from PTSD, is it realistic to be a little paranoid and overly protective? Sure. Is it realistic to have inexplicable fears regarding her daughter’s safety? I guess so. The stunt Mrs Whittier pulled, practically living in a parallel universe? Highly unlikely. (If anyone can point out scientific literature to prove otherwise, I will gladly revise this statement). « Hide Spoiler
✘ The ending felt rushed, rushed, rushed. It read as though Yoon knew she had fucked up and quickly wanted to get it over with.
It has been a long time since I’ve last seen a book spark such a controversy. Everything, Everything is an enjoyable romance, or at least it was right up to that final plot twist that singe-handedly managed to cheapen the whole story. The only reason I’m still awarding this with 3 stars is because I’m separating the game-changing plot twist from the rest of the book, which would’ve otherwise been a cute, light, and romantic read.
If you enjoy a YA romance with an ending that likes to throw everything you’ve ever believed out of the window, then this book is for you. If you prefer a serious YA contemporary focusing on dealing with severe health issues with a little romance on the side, then I’d advise you to avoid this.
☛ In either case, if you suffer from SCID or any other chronic illness, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THIS BOOK. And, of course, kick that disease’s ass if you can, and never allow it to bring you down, you beautiful people.