Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Published September 1, 2015
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About Everything, Everything
My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the 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. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. And I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.
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.
Maddy’s narrative is accompanied by random snippets: super short movie synopses, clever charts and definitions that speak to Maddy’s state of mind, and transcripts of instant messages exchanged between Maddy and Olly.
The story is witty and cute and definitely packed with romantic tension. I was as enamored with Olly as Maddy was upon his entrance to her life. He’s fun and smart, yet has that sort of dark, angsty mystery to him, as well.
Confession: I snooped and read a spoiler (which I immediately regretted) before reading the book for myself. I was worried that knowing a major twist (which the reviewer felt was too perfect or too simplistic) would affect my ability to enjoy the story and really stay in the moment while reading it.
I found the characters so engaging that I wasn’t bothered by knowing what would happen. The outcome felt organic to me, and much more plausible within the context of the story than the review had made it seem.
The one thing that rang a little false to me was Maddy’s confidence about the outside world. I would have expected her to have more anxiety, even if she felt like the risks would be worthwhile. She seemed a little too in control at some moments.
All in all, though, I felt like Yoon does an amazing job with the character development and with the reference to poetry, philosophy and math. Those parts along with the situation concerning Maddy’s health elevate the story from a common contemporary teen romance to something much more substantive. Readers who enjoy books by John Green and movies like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Truman Show should give this novel a read.
Profanity or Crude Language
A handful of instances of brief strong profanity, usually in reference to a drunk man berating his family.
One sex scene – includes a short description of what happens. Their bodies “moving together” and that sort of thing. It is supposed to be Maddy’s first sexual experience.
Madeleine and Olly briefly discuss ideas about hope and faith – more general, less specific to any one religion really. He is pretty convinced there’s nothing more out there in the universe whereas Maddy finds the idea of faith appealing.
Maddy spies on neighbors and witnesses a confrontation that turns violent.
Note: I received a free copy of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.