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Everything, Everything Book Review – Cassoulet and Mandatory Confinement

2-star

Synopsis.

Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonMy 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.

The Good Bits.

Diversity

The protagonist Madeline aka Maddy is biracial: her mom is Asian and her dad is black. It’s always great to see more POC characters in books so I was happy with that. There’s also a diversity of class and home life. Both Maddy and her love interest Olly live in an upper-middle class neighbourhood, but Olly’s father is abusive and an alcoholic. I appreciated that a different sort of home life was brought into the mix, though it wasn’t explored as much as I thought it should be.

Format and Illustrations

Throughout the book, there’re little illustrations,and emails, and diagrams. I enjoyed all these cute add-ons. I think it’s fun when authors deviate from the typical narrative style and mix it up. So much of our world now is mixed media that it’s refreshing to see some of that in a book.

Sour Grapes.

Maddy’s Mom

Because of Maddy’s illness, her mother is in a constant state of worrying about her. Which is understandable, because if any sort of stray germ can kill your kid, why wouldn’t you be? But her worry presents itself is with a lot of controlling behaviour. And I’m not talking about making sure her vitals are taken regularly or that she goes to school. I’m talking about banning her from using the internet to communicate with Olly and generally controlling all her human interaction. I was upset that this more subtle form of abuse wasn’t addressed as such. It was a perfect opportunity for Maddy to connect with Olly over something deeper, and they never talked about it after. And she never called it for what it was.

Unbelievable Romance

I have no idea why Maddy and Olly even like each other. In a way, as a teenager going through their first relationship I understand that they don’t need a ton in common to be a couple. The same goes for adult couples. But for the way their love is described, you’d think they were soulmates. Olly, I feel, is constantly trying to get Maddy to be ‘normal’. I know she puts herself at risk of her own free will, but he’s more than happy to let her. Would your ‘soulmate’ make you think you had to risk death to be with them? I don’t think so.

The Ending

Click for Spoilers

The Last Bite.

I wanted to like this book. I don’t often read and enjoy contemporary, but the unique premise of Everything, Everything drew me in and demanded my attention. Ultimately, I was disappointed by an ending that didn’t resolve any of the issues it brought up about family home lives. Instead, it focused on a relationship based on one person risking everything for another. And taking advantage of the person they’re risking everything for.

Discussion.

Madeline aka Maddy cannot go outside without risking illness, but after meeting Olly is unsatisfied with staying indoors. Do you think long distance relationships eventually require a physical element to be meaningful or no? Why?

goodreadsLINK indigoLINK authorLINKamazonLINK

What are some of the best and worst examples of parents you’ve seen in books?

Let’s do lunch again next week!

 

14 Comments

    • ltlibrarian

      September 6, 2016 at 5:29 PM

      Yup, I always try and find something good and bad. But that romance, yeah, I can see how that would put a damper on it. It was disappointing to me, especially for a book where the romance is the main thing

      Reply
  • Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    August 30, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    THIS. I completely agree with you 110%. I loved the diversity and the format of the story itself, but everything else was just meh. The romance felt a bit too quick for my tastes, and the ending was definitely a letdown as well. Sorry you felt the same way. 🙁 Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    Reply
    • ltlibrarian

      September 1, 2016 at 8:12 AM

      I fully agree that the romance was way too fast. The whole time I could not ‘buy’ it at all. And gosh, that ending. I was just so disappointed. It’s good to know I’m not the only one!

      Reply
  • Grace Osas

    August 30, 2016 at 3:54 AM

    I find it funny how we both gave the book 2 star ratings. Sure, for her debut novel, it was written beautifully but she shouldn’t have chosen such a rare illness if she doesn’t know how to write about it. Also, I felt that everyone was a little boring… nothing really unique about them. And Olly and Maddy’s relationship was pretty pointless to me.

    Reply
    • ltlibrarian

      September 1, 2016 at 8:15 AM

      It felt like a farce. I think I was expecting something that was more realistic that what happened. And maybe my mistake was looking for realism and not just reading for adorableness. I can see that boring comment. They both felt kind of artificially quirky, very much that precocious special snowflake John Green type teenagers. It was a hard sell for sure. And it worked for some people and didn’t for others

      Reply
  • Tori @ InToriLex

    August 29, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    Great Review. I picked this up at a library book sale because I know so many people love it. I’m still interested only because I know this is becoming a TV series. Hopefully they get more right in that then they got wrong here.

    Reply
  • ShootingStarsMag

    August 29, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    This does have a really unique premise. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you! As for your parting question, I think physical/romantic relationships need to be in person at some point. But I do think you can have meaningful friendships that are purely online.

    -Lauren

    Reply
    • ltlibrarian

      August 29, 2016 at 8:03 PM

      Yeah, it’s too bad, I did want to like it. But there were too many things that upset me. As someone who’s done the long distance thing I think the physical component does for many people become integral at some point. But friendships absolutely can thrive online and also romantic relationships where physical contact isn’t necessarily important to the people.

      Reply

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