Sunday, 15 November 2015

Caragh Reviews // Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Published - 3rd September 2015
Publisher - Corgi
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone? Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

If you've heard about this book then you've heard about...that thing that happens at the end. Or at least you've heard that something happens. For the purpose of this review, I think i'm probably going to ignore that completely. Like a lot of other reviews i've seen, I wasn't impressed by it. However, I completely and unconditionally loved this book regardless of that thing. So on we go...!

Oh my goodness. From page 1 I was unashamedly hooked. I'm not too coy to admit that I was staying at the in-laws when I bought this book last Saturday and that by Sunday afternoon i'd not only completely ignored the entire family but yes! I had finished it in just 2 sittings (damn sleeping needs...).

Madeline was a fantastic character and I resonated with her in a lot of ways. Although I certainly can't compare my life to hers, I too was a very sickly kid. I missed a lot of school, events and friendships and it wasn't until I got older that I was diagnosed and had to navigate my life in a new light. Maddie was such a strong character to make me truly believe what was happening. Although I knew it was 'just' a book of course, it didn't stop me needing a few moments to have a little cry about what she must be going through and feeling. Which I did need. Many, MANY times. Not embarrassing at all! This is of course due to Yoon's incredible writing. I think I could believe anything that was written down by her.

Nicola Yoon herself has said that part of the reason for writing the book is that we need more diversity and that is something that is not only absolutely true, but is something that is very close to my heart. Maddie is mixed race, something that isn't talked about a whole lot within the book and my heart BURSTS at this. In the most respectful way, it just wasn't a big deal. Maddie's race made no different to the love I felt for her and her story. It made no difference to the love that Ollie had. It literally wouldn't have made the story any different if Maddie were white.....which begs the question of why isn't there more bi-racial/black protagonists? I realise that my opinion means very little in the grand scheme of things but the real world is made up of many colours - so let's show that in our literature too. It's especially important to show this in literature for children and young adults.

Nicola Yoon's writing and Maddie's story had my heart pounding and tears rolling throughout the book. It was also intelligent, funny and romantic (in a multitude of ways). I really dislike "instalove" in books, particularly YA where it features a LOT and I know that some people felt that way about Everything Everything but honestly, I didn't get that. I felt the struggle between Maddie and Ollie. Maddie is fiercely independent (which sounds ironic considering the premise of the book) and I understood the difficulties she faced opening up and letting Ollie into her confined space.

For me, this book really stood apart from anything else i've read in a long time and I think it will be hitting the top spot for a long time to come.

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