This post of Everything, Everything by author Nicola Yoon, Illustrations David Yoon has been adapted from two previous posts. First is the spoiler free review followed by the spoiler full review and summary.
Spoiler Free Review
I need to note that there are some discussion points that I simply cannot make in the spoiler free review of this book. I address my opinion about the controversy that some readers have projected onto Everything, Everything but it is impossible to talk about it without discussing spoilers as well. Therefore, this review will simply be about this book being, in my opinion, super cute.
Everything, Everything is at its core a teen romance drama about the thrills and perils of a first love. If that does not sound like a book you would read then this book will not be for you regardless of the other nuance.
The book is about Madeline, a young woman who has lived her whole life with a severely compromised immune system. She never gets to leaver her home and basically her only human interaction is with her mother, who is also her doctor, and her nurse.
She can’t help but become infatuated with the new neighbor boy who moves in next door. This relationship is the focus of the book and its honestly adorable.
I picked this book up as a palate cleanser after a different novel left a very bad taste in my mouth. I needed something easy to read quickly that I could trust to just be entertaining and maybe a bit emotional. Teen dramas are great for this. I also really loved the other book I read by author Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star. It seemed like a safe bet and I was rewarded.
I finished Everything, Everything over the course of a couple of lunch breaks. It’s an extremely quick read that includes some cute little pictures and diagrams drawn by Yoon’s husband. It enhances the innocence of the young and naive Madeline.
The book isn’t necessarily predictable but it is comfortable. I think there is value in having a book that isn’t challenging every once in a while. I enjoyed watching this young romance blossom and rooting for love to conquer all.
It’s nice sometimes to worry about first kisses and the electricity of holding hands with someone you’re attracted to instead of real world adult issues. For the purposes of easy mind numbing escapism Everything, Everything fits the bill.
I do recommend it to those who like these kinds of books. If you’re intrigued by how in the world this book could also be controversial then you’re going to have to read the spoiler full review below and find out.
Everything, Everything Summary
Before I really get into the plot and review of Everything, Everything I want to get something out of the way. I read some other reader reviews of this book and was surprised to find that it was controversial. I am not living with a disability and I did not find this book offensive. It seems that some individuals who are living with disabilities or chronic illnesses have found this story insensitive.
I do not wish to diminish their feelings but based on their reviews I think the assessment may be unfair. Yes, it would be great to have more differently abled representation in books. I’m sorry that this book didn’t turn out to be what you thought it was but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Also, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, also called Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, is just as real as any immune suppression syndrome or other chronic illness. To say that you’re upset because the chronic illness was “faked” and therefore is insensitive to those with chronic illnesses dismisses the victims of MSBP. In the war to be top Social Justice Warrior everyone loses.
Everything, Everything is a sick kids in love book but wanted an ending where both of the kids live. This was one way to make that story happen. There are others. If you are so desperate to see your story told, you need to tell it yourself.
Now, let’s get into a cute first love story.
Everything, Everything is about Madeline. She is what is sometimes referred to as a “bubble baby.” She has a severely compromised immune system that requires her to live a very sheltered life. She spends her days at home with her doctor mother and her nurse.
She is able to look out of her bedroom window but unable to ever visit the outside. This obviously makes it difficult to make friends. She witnesses the new neighbors moving in and begins to spy on them.
They have a teenage boy about her age named Olly. Their bedroom windows face each other and a flirtation across the way begins. Over time the begin to email and then instant message each other.
They talk innocently enough at first but it takes Madeline a while to admit to him why she cannot see him in person. After a brief passing of time they decide that that is not good enough, they must meet for real.
Madeline’s nurse sets up a time for Olly to come over while mom is at work. There will be no touching but they can at least talk face to face. Admittedly, this is extremely unprofessional behavior for the nurse.
Madeline does not get sick from the visit so they decide to escalate a little. Olly begins coming over more regularly and at one of these meetings they briefly hold hands. This is adorable.
But then they have a meeting that their teenage hormones take control of and they kiss. This is definitely starting to get reckless. But teens will be teens and teens always want more.
By this point Madeline and Olly have developed pretty strong feelings for each other but neither of their parents are aware of the situation.
One night, Madeline and her mom hear some screaming coming from next door. They witness Olly and his mom getting physically abused by the dad. Without thinking Madeline rushes outside to help him.
The whole situation then comes out into the open. Madeline’s mother justifiably fires the nurse who put her daughter at risk and Madeline is punished for putting herself at risk. Madeline has had her internet privileges revoked and can no longer message Olly.
After not getting sick from her brief period outside of the house she decides it’s time to risk it all for love. She gets a credit card and books a trip for two to Hawaii.
Madeline and Olly run away to Hawaii for a vacation together. They exchange the love word and they make love together. Everything seems to be going great, maybe Madeline is stronger than they thought!
That is until she wakes up with a violent fever and heart palpitations. Olly rushes her to the hospital and Madeline’s mother meets them there. Madeline’s heart briefly stops before the doctors revive her and she is able to be sent home.
Madeline decides that love is too risky after all and deletes Olly and hope from her life. She becomes understandably depressed. Especially when she sees Olly and his mother and sister moving out while the abusive father is at work.
Madeline has gotten settled back into her uneventful life when she receives a startling email from one of the doctors that treated her in Hawaii. The doctors believes that Madeline has never had an immune disorder and should really get a second and third opinion.
Madeline confronts her mother and her mother denies this. But it quickly comes to light that her mother did in fact create the illness. She had a break from reality after her husband and son were killed in a car accident. She couldn’t lose her daughter too so she created this entire reality around Madeline needing to stay safe inside their home.
This is where the MSBP comes in. Madeline’s mother has a diagnosable mental disorder recognized by medical professionals everywhere. So to all the reviews that are saying no mother would ever do this and this is faker than Madeline’s disease, I’m sorry to say you’re wrong.
Madeline is able to confirm with specialists that she does not have a chronic disorder. However, living in a sterile environment her whole life did weaken her immune system and does cause her to now be more susceptible to common viruses.
With that in mind she decides to take one more big leap. She leaves home to find Olly in his new home state of New York. She surprises him and they have a happy reunion. A truly adorable ending if you ignore the whole mom really needs help thing.
Everything, Everything is a cute love story about two teens who get together despite the odds. It’s light fiction with a happy ending. I enjoyed it.
It appears obvious now that this book may not be for everyone but I encourage you to read it as its own story. Not every book needs to be a social platform. Some books can just be entertaining. That’s okay.
4/5 flowers 🌺🌺🌺🌺
For more Nicola Yoon please check out the review of The Sun is Also a Star.
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Buy it here: Everything, Everything