Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a Young Adult book about a girl, Madeline who is allergic to the world. At eighteen years old, her life is regulated, she cannot remember going outside. Her lessons take place online, and she is fairly content: until a boy and his family move in next door.
The new boy makes friends with Maddy over email, and through messages and pantomimes across the garden. Her nurse Carla lets him in, and, completely unsurprisingly, they fall in love.
The format of the book is quite cool. It reads like a diary, but also feature handwritten pieces, notes to self, homework, obsession with her new neighbours like a list of at what time they do things which is a bit creepy. It makes for a quick read. It took me about four hours with a dinner/tumblr break.
Despite the rave reviews, I found it was simply OK. It’s been about a day since I finished it and I’ve already forgotten bad-boy-next-door-neighbours name. It was all very cliché first romance, first love, rebelling against parents and I was just a bit bored. The characters felt very two-dimensional and the only character I actively liked was Carla, the nurse. The cast was limited, but diverse. It is basically a modern day Rapunzel story. The message is as stated on the cover: The greatest risk is not taking one. Which is a pretty good message but in this case, it was all a bit focussed on the teen romance.
While I didn’t like it very much, I was reading this thinking “my sister would love this” because she is still young enough to adore cliché romances with predictable plot twists. I have come to the conclusion that I have just grown out of adolescent romance stories. I mean, the stories where romance is a sideline I can deal with, but this book revolves around Maddy falling in love and “freeing” herself from her boring life and…I don’t know, the feminist in me had a few things to say about that. The alternative is that, reading this so soon after the emotionally heavy “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” reviewed yesterday, the adolescent problems felt a bit hyperbolic and irritating. Who knows. Either way, it was good, not great and not all that memorable. The ending is a cop-out, and yet is entirely predictable and a little insulting actually.
I have a feeling that this is being turned into a movie, and I would like to see it, but I would only recommend this book if you love teen romance.