For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


My 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. ~

Source: ARC provided at BEA2015 – Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Review: I’ve had Everything, Everything sitting on my shelf since June. It was one of those books that early reviewers were calling the best book of the year! A MUST READ! Honestly, I try to steer clear of those books until the hype dies down because my expectations reach a level that just can’t be fulfilled.

So I’ve basically avoided most reviews and set the book aside but several of my most trusted reviewer friends really liked it so I took the plunge and I have to say Everything, Everything was a delightful surprise.

Love is worth everything. Everything.”
From Everything, Everything

The beautiful thing about Everything, Everything is it’s about different kinds of love. First love, familial love, irrational love, love of life and living. It’s a messy story – both beautiful and bittersweet with a few twists and turns. It’s a story that’s sad, whimsical, romantic and quirky. 

Madeline and Olly are the kind of teens that are hyper-self aware with an above average vocabulary which might be annoying to some but I found them to be enchanting and relatable. This is mostly thanks to Nicola Yoon’s inclusion of graphs, emails and drawings ( wonderfully illustrated by her husband, David Yoon).

For example, Madeline describes and illustrates her self diagnosis of Hysterical Abdominal Rhopalocera.

Hysterical Abdominal Rhopalocera. The condition of having one or more monarch butterflies take up residence in the stomach. 

Who is affected by HAR?

The disease affects at least one teenaged American girl every 30 seconds”

Instead of being silly or cloying, I found Madeline’s drawings, lists, conversations with Olly, and one sentence spoiler book reviews to be raw and insightful. She’s so breathtakingly honest with herself and pragmatic that I found myself remembering all of my own teenage firsts.

Don’t be fooled – this isn’t just a book about falling in love for the first time. Both Madeline and Olly have very difficult lives with no easy answers but they dare to live and love fully despite the odds.

Everything, Everything has a deceptively sweet, easy, humorous feel to it but still packs an emotional punch. There is a solid, hopeful conclusion but things aren't necessarily wrapped up in a neat tidy bow.

My one criticism of the book is that I don't think it handled mental health very well. There's a bit of a twist to Madeline's story that is really awful, on a lot of levels, but was kind of brushed off in favor of the whimsy of the story and overall message of love - live!

But I had read some spoilers going in and kind of had an idea of what was coming. Plus, as I said earlier, I always try to temper my expectations of hyped titles. I took the book and messages for what they were and enjoyed it but I can see how this aspect would be off putting to some.

I hate to do book/author comparisons but I think this book would be a good fit for fans of David Levithan, John Green, Jandy Nelson.


  1. This book is everywhere right now! Can't wait to get my hands on it!

    1. It really is! I hope you enjoy it :-)

    2. One might even say it's... Everywhere, Everywhere.

  2. Allergic to the world, that would be crazy

    1. It really is! You can't go out or touch anyone or let anyone in.

  3. Yeah, I kind of have to agree about how it glossed over mental illness, but I did love this book!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    1. She didn't trivialize it at all - which almost made it weirder when it was dropped at the end.

  4. Yes, was great how it explored the different kinds of love

  5. I have a friend who has more allergies than I care to thin about and she was asking if I'd read this. Heard lots about it on various blogs, I admit to putting off seeking out a copy until some of the hype had died down and also because, a book people seem to love or hate, I had heard many bloggers say the mental health issues had been dealt with very well.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and confirming that I'm probably right in putting off reading it at least for the time being.

    1. As I said in an earlier answer to a comment - I didn't think she trivialized metal illness at all. Until she did. That's not going to make a whole lot of sense but it's very spoilery.

      Since writing my review, I've seen a few bloggers that really disliked how the author handled a certain twist. And I can understand where they are coming from even though it didn't' ruin my enjoyment overall of the book.

      Book hype is both a blessing and a curse! lol

  6. "There is a solid, hopeful conclusion but things aren't necessarily wrapped up in a neat tidy bow."

    I like when books have that kind of ending. It's very much like real life to me. Being cute and humorous is all good fun, but I feel like a book is on another level when the author can bring us back to an uneasy reality.

    I haven't read too many reviews for this one so I *assume* I don't know this spoiler of which you speak! Oh well, time to place my hold at my library! :)

    Great review Karen!!

  7. this book was different and good. Great review . I enjoyed it very much :)