Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 978-0553496642
Source: Library
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Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. She is content enough—until a boy with eyes the color of the Atlantic Ocean moves in next door. Their complicated romance begins over IM and grows through a wunderkammer of vignettes, illustrations, charts, and more.

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.


I knew this book was going to be good but wow! It met and exceeded my expectations! What a read! I really enjoyed following Maddy’s journey as she grows up isolated in her home due to the condition that she has grown up with, SCID. Maddy is a biracial character (Black and Japanese) and it was so great to see a diverse main character. She falls in love with the boy across the street, Olly, (interracial relationship!) who is adorable, charming, funny, smart, thoughtful, and gives you more butterflies than you might be able to handle it as you read.

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”

I loved not only the simply beautiful dynamic between Maddy and Olly but I loved the complexities with Olly as an individual and the execution of his own journey, living with an abusive father. The balance in tone from light to dark was so well done by the way. I marvel at this. Not only that father-son relationship and abusive home dynamic, but the relationship that Maddy has with her own mother is great…until it isn’t. And I could go more into detail about these relationships but I’d rather not. They speak volumes for themselves and will mean so much, will mean everything to so many readers.

Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.

Also in Maddy’s life is her nurse, Carla, who is Mexican (diversity for the win!) and boy does she bring so much joy and protection and reason and love into Maddy’s life. It takes a strong woman to wait for the right time to let someone else come to realize truth and be there to speak up and help when they’re ready to accept it, and boy does she wait.

Sometimes you do things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong ones and sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference.

Back to Madeline and Oliver. Their story is about hope and love, death and distance, freedom and control, recovery and wholeness and risks. This book is about sick people, broken people, broken hearts, broken minds. It’s about everything and everything was executed so marvelously. I really don’t have the right words to accurately explain just how much I enjoyed reading this book, living Maddy and Olly’s truths and watching them accept and reject so much for so much more. For a greater everything. There’s so much depth to this story and I appreciated every single moment.

“…I’ve decided baggage carousels are a perfect metaphor for life,”

Sure, I overall wanted a bit more ironing out during the ending (I did like the “twist”) but still, it’s solid and I was quite satisfied. The actual ending as in the final scene, the last lines, I loved.

Yes, I’m still a bit confused as to how Maddy got to a certain place in the book (Spoiler chit chat: Did I read that correctly – did she get her own credit card? Because if so, how does a kid with zero credit get a credit card with a limit high enough to go where she went, even with the help of a parent/guardian? Confused.) but suspend disbelief for a brief moment and keep it rolling, I guess?? Anyway…

Madeline’s Dictionary. prom-ise 1. The lie you want to keep. (2015, Whittier)

Everything, Everything was a fast paced read with a really engaging unconventional structure full of email and IM conversations, mini pop culture spoiler review chapters from Maddy, and more. I could have done without most of the illustrations as all were lovely (and done by the author’s husband) but many felt unnecessary though this unconventional format overall was wonderful. It was so fluid and made for a super quick and exciting read. I loved the writing. I loved the voice! Talk about voice. Wooo! Nicola Yoon killed it with the voice! What she’s done here is pretty remarkable. All in all, I loved Everything, Everything and I’m sure that when you read it, you will too. If you’re like me and don’t read much contemporary romance, let this be one of the contemp romances that you read.

In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is available today. Stay tuned for the movie adaptation coming soon to a theater near you.