Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon

“Sometimes you do things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong ones and sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference.”

Have you ever read a book that pulls you in and refuses to weaken its grasp? A book so profound and wonderfully developed that you want to live in the world created? That was Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon for me. Everything, Everything has many elements of a typical young adult romance novel: a boy and girl meet, fall in love, something tries to get in the way of their love, and, usually (although not always, yes I am talking to you, John Green) they end up together and live happily ever after.

However, Everything, Everything is also very unconventional. There are many layers, and many fascinating characters that make the book interesting and impossible to put down. Everything, Everything has an unconventional yet relatable main protagonist. Madeline Whittier is an Asian-American female who is diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or as she calls it “bubble baby disease.” Basically, she is allergic to the world. She is relatable because of how down-to-earth and honest she is. Since Madeline cannot go outside, she spends most of her time reading, talking to her nurse Carla, doing her online schoolwork, or playing various games with her mother. Despite being essentially trapped in her own home, doing the same things day in and day out, Madeline is perfectly okay with her life. What is so astonishing is despite often wishing she could know what it’s like to go outside, she knows it is impossible and never complains or wallows in pity. Madeline is always strong.

Another character that adds depth to the book is Madeline’s nurse, Carla. Carla is funny and kind, and encourages Madeline to go after her dreams. Carla is unapologetic and refuses to let Madeline cage her heart, and their interactions teach readers lessons and pose questions about life, duty, and love.

Then readers are introduced to Olly. Olly and his family move into the house next door, and Madeline becomes fascinated by this new family, especially Olly. Olly is described as tall and lean, clad in all black. So, basically, tall dark and handsome. He was mysterious and new, and Madeline was deeply intrigued. As Madeline begins to learn more about the mysterious Olly, she becomes more infatuated with him, and the outside world. Olly is cheerful, charismatic, funny, and witty. He likes to climb roofs and even tries to bring a Bundt cake over to Madeline’s house, which her mom has to politely decline. Finally, Madeline and Olly meet, or rather, they communicate through their windows, all thanks to the indestructible Bundt cake. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book, however, I will tell you that soon after she meets Olly, Madeline, the girl who was completely content with her life, realizes that she wants more..  

So, you may be wondering, what makes this book stand out? Well, my answer is truthfully, subjective. But I will tell you this: Everything, Everything makes you think: think about the things you would or would not do for love, and how far you would go to not just be alive, but to live. The book flows and develops, and readers not only get to watch two people fall hopelessly in love, but they get to see a girl, a strong, funny, incredible girl, battle with herself, with her illness, her mother, and what she knows is right, but also knows the truths she cannot ignore. We are taken on a beautiful and terrifying journey; with a character who is down to earth, but whose heart is up in the clouds. Love is a beautiful, terrible, awful thing, and we get to witness love in all of its raw and awful glory as we go on an adventure of a lifetime with a girl who refuses to be trapped by her sickness. Everything, Everything captured my heart, and I have no doubt it will capture yours.

thescene@theeagleonline.com


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