Book Review: Everything, Everything

By Alex Haylock

The Friar’s Lantern (Malvern, Penssylvannia)

“The greatest risk is not taking one”

On May 19, the movie adaptation to Nicola Yoon’s novel Everything, Everything will hit theaters, and personally I am as excited as I am worried.

Everything, Everything tells the story of Madeline Whittier, a teenage girl who has never stepped foot outside of her own house.

Madeline was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). It’s that thing you see on TV where the kid lives inside a bubble, except Madeline’s bubble is her house. The only friends she’s ever had are her mom and her live-in-made, Carla. Madeline was contempt with living her entire life in the same house.

Until Olly.

Yes I know it’s cliche, but Yoon is one of the few authors who I think can make it work. Her novels specialize in characters of atypical backgrounds which make it a lot more enjoyable to read some classic plotlines. But back to Olly.

To Madeline, Olly is sort of like a character on some reality show that she won’t fully understand until the season finale, but she’s gonna try and guess anyways. Alternatively, Olly will patiently wait to figure out Madeline, which is why I think their dynamic is so interesting to read about.

As they become closer, it is hard to see a story progress with Madeline locked up, which is why you’ll see a lot more character development in Olly. However, Everything, Everything is trying to piece together a story of bravery over all things, without involving slaying dragons or unlocking destiny.

Now to what worries me.

Anyone who has read the Percy Jackson series and has also seen the movie can attest to why all readers should fear movie adaptations. There is just too much room to go wrong. My biggest issue is with the casting of Olly, who has long hair in the trailer. While in the book, Olly is bald, but I digress.

What I don’t appreciate about this book is the haphazard way that recklessness is played off as “bravery”. I mean, going outside when you’re allergic to everything outside is a little explicit. But still a sense of adventure, with the catalyst being a romantic interest is cool to be seen when it’s not in an Aladdin “I can show you the world” fashion.

All in all, Nicola Yoon’s book can be described as the happily ever after to end all happily ever afters.

Except for the part where Madeline goes through an existential crisis but that’s a small detail.

Photo credit: Sam

 

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