‘Everything, Everything’ – Nicola Yoon

everything everything

I’d read a number of reviews of this before I started reading, and they didn’t fill me with optimism. I fully expected to be annoyed by this, and maybe not even finish it – how wrong!

From the outset, the world that Maddie inhabits is claustrophobic. Her whole life has been lived in a sterile bubble and her contact with the outside world is limited to interaction with her mother, nurse and the occasional tutor. Even when I am feeling at my most anti-social there is no better feeling than to go outside and feel the wind on your skin and to smell the air. i cannot even begin to imagine how it would feel to have to remain inside in order to live. Is it really living?

With the setting clearly established, Yoon quite quickly introduces Olly, the character who is going to turn Maddy’s assumptions about the world on their head. Olly is the teenage son of the newly-arrived couple next door. Of course, they strike up a bond and Maddy ends up falling in love. Some reviews have commented on the implausibility of this relationship, but both are damaged in their own way and they each offer something that the other needs. Their conversations are witty and endearing, and I was firmly rooting for them throughout.

We are given little clues that there is more to Maddy’s illness than initially shared, so the ending doesn’t really come as any surprise. Maddy is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across in recent YA fiction, and I will certainly be recommending it to many of my students.

Once again I have to thank NetGalley for a free digital copy of this in exchange for an honest review.