Everything Everything ~ Nicola Yoon

So, I just moved to a small town in Vermont where the library is about the size of my bedroom. It’s tiny! There aren’t that many options, but fortunately it’s part of a 12 library network and I can get inter-library loans. Anyways, this is the first book I checked out with my library card. I figured I’d give it a try, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

Everything, Everything is the surprisingly light-hearted story of a girl (Madeline or Maddy) who has an immune disorder that means she can’t go outside. So she’s lived her entire life indoors with primarily her mom and her nurse, Carla, as company. Occasionally one of her tutors/teachers can come for a visit, but otherwise her only contact with the outside world is through books and the internet. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that she has spent her entire life in her house, Maddy is in surprisingly good spirits. Until the day that she sees the boy that moves in next door.

Predictably, the romance is bad in this book. It’s one of those love at first sight kind of deals, where Maddy pines after the only boy that is somewhat in her life, even though he can’t really be in her life of course, and they fall deeply in love. Queue unlikely and disgustingly cutesy romance. Of course they both have their own problems that they help each other work through. He is the dark and troubled teenage boy and she is the light and kind soul who is graceful despite her untimely sickness that pulls him up and out of his angsty-ness.

But it’s fast, and it’s about family and love, and even though there aren’t many characters, Yoon plowed through so many emotions of betrayal, despair, love, and hope. But it’s also a simple book, and the ending was rather disappointing in a lot of ways. I’ve heard people describe it as ableist, or trivializing chronic sicknesses, and it does that. So I guess it depends on which lens you’re reading this book through. You may find it cutesy, you may find it unrealistic, you may find it downright ableist and offensive, the choice is yours. I feel few feelings regarding this book. It was short and easy to read, and in some ways I did find it fulfilled those cutesy feelings I was expecting it to. Just beware the hype!

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