I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Everything, Everything on September 1st 2015
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This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
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.
‘Maybe I’m holding out hope that one day, someday, things will change.’
Imagine living your entire life inside your house only ever having seen your mother and your nurse. Imagine never being able to feel the wind on your skin, or grass between your toes. Imagine growing up never having friends, never having a sleepover, and never being able to anticipate going on a date. This is the life that Madeline Whittier has been forced to live due to an immunodeficiency that causes her to be allergic to practically everything. When a new boy named Olly moves in next door, Madeline begins to test her boundaries because conversing with Olly slowly opens her eyes to what she’s been missing all this time.
Everything, Everything, despite the serious topic, read like a breath of fresh air. Madeline was such a wonderful character with such a quirky sense of humor and a resiliency you can’t help but admire. Her constant breaking of rules lacks what you would expect would come as completely reckless, but instead shows Madeline’s tenacity to experience the world for however long she’d be able to survive it. The narrative is told in typical story form but we’re also given snippets of her journal and the online chat sessions with Olly. The writing style flows wonderfully and it’s easy to get completely immersed in it and consume it quickly. Reminiscent of Jandy Nelson, Katie Catugno, and Jessi Kirby’s writing styles.
The romance was shockingly wonderful and I loved the progression that their relationship took. Their cutesy antics constantly put a smile on my face and I just loved reading how he slowly taught her about the world he lived in, that she had never experienced. With this being such a quick read, I was pleased that their romance didn’t feel quick as well. There were some real heart-wrenching moments that left me blubbering just a bit, because you can’t help but feel from the very beginning that there couldn’t possibly be a happy ending in sight. It only helped matters that I kept envisioning Madeline and Olly as these two:
While I won’t get into spoilery detail, the ending does have to be mentioned because it’s been a game-changer for a lot of people and their overall opinion of the book. Admittedly, there is a definite twist at the end that changes everything and is hastily “resolved” and not adequately so in my opinion. For me though, the magic of the book was the heartwarming romance and the incredibly charismatic characters which were both solid enough to withstand a somewhat skimpy resolution. Everything, Everything is no doubt an impressive debut from a promising new author.