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Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is released on September 1st 2015. 

Madeline has SCID or Severe Combined Immunodeficiency which leaves her trapped inside her house. Her life is a cycle of reading, medical tests and playing games with her mother. That is, until a new family moves in next door.

What fascinated me most about this book was Madeline’s SCID. I suffer quite badly from allergies (nothing like Maddy does), however I do suffer from a range of food, animal and air/dust allergies. In fact, the reason I chose to pick this book up when I did was after I suffered a large allergy attack at an airport and was left rather shaken up. I thought I would be able to relate quite easily to this book, however that just wasn’t the case at all. In the end, I found so many small inconsistencies that I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the book. The novel was lacking what I was really hoping for an expecting in this novel: a young girl dealing with SCID in a truthful and honest way. Instead we got story about a girl who falls head over heels with the boy who moves in next door. And even then, I found the romance just okay. 

The beginning of this book was the highlight for me. I enjoyed the writing style and the little inserts of medical charts and pictures along the way. I also really enjoyed Madeline’s short, spoiler-filled book reviews (even if they were scarce and extremely short). I found the pacing great and the introduction to the main characters were all well done and thought out and you were able to see just how important each person in Madeline’s life was to her. At first I found Madeline a relatively likeable main character because she seemed to understand her sickness and her limitations.

Of course, then things turned cliche. The story turned ‘tragic love story’, something I definitely wasn’t expecting from the first half. The pacing was very fast and suddenly Madeline and Olly’s relationship was the main focus of the story. The whole insta-love factor came into play, and while it may not have been as bad as some novels, I did find it very hard to read. They IM for a day and suddenly they are in love? For me I would have preferred their relationship if they were at least friends first, however it read as though Olly was the first ‘hot guy’ Madeline had ever laid eyes on and it was immediately love at first sight. Ugh.

As it continued, Madeline’s likability almost disappeared entirely for me. She became extremely reckless with herself even though she was dealing with SCID. I understand that everything that happened was to show Madeline ‘taking control of her life’, however for me it was farfetched and took the realistic feel away from the book.

I really had lost all interest in this book by the last half. The plot twist, while unpredicted, seemed unrealistic. Almost like a cop out to why everything was half-heartedly explained throughout the book. I understand her mother diagnosed her with SCID, however I’m assuming (I don’t know) that anyone who suffers from that kind of illness would have multiple doctors and nurses constantly checking in on her condition and running tests. If that wasn’t happening, I then wonder why Madeline didn’t question things earlier? She lives in isolation and spends a lot of time on the internet, why didn’t she ever do research on her disease? None of this added up for me. The story became bland rather quickly and ended on such a low note. And of course, the romance ended how it did. What else was I expecting.

In the end, I’m really disappointed that I was let down by this book. I had such high hopes but unfortunately what I was looking for I never got. The real reason I bumped this up from 1-star to 2-stars was that I was able to read it in one sitting and it was able to hold my attention most of that time. While I disliked this book, I think people should still read it. Nicola Yoon is wonderful at characterisation, and overall the premise is intriguing enough that I’m sure plenty of people would enjoy it. She is definitely a new YA author to keep your eye out for. I just hope she comes up with something a bit more developed next time.


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