After hearing so many great things about this book from fellow readers, I immediately added it to my ever-growing list of books that I need to read. I’m always searching for a book that is a bit unique, one that will take me on a completely different journey. Everything, Everything caught my attention as soon as I read the synopsis. I had never read a book with a character who had the same condition as Madeline, and I wanted to step inside her sheltered world and discover more about her.
Madeline suffers from a condition in which her immune system is so fragile that she is unable to ever go outside. Her condition is so severe that if anyone comes to her house they need to be decontaminated. Their house has air that has been specifically filtered to suit her needs. Madeline’s health is routinely checked and charted to ensure that her health has not been compromised in any way. The only people who Madeline is in contact with are her mother, who is also a doctor, and Carla, her nurse who tends to her while her mother is at work.
Madeline’s life consists of being homeschooled, game nights with her mother, movies, and reading her beloved books. Whenever I read a book, I always try to put myself in the character’s shoes. My heart broke for Madeline. To live your entire life in such a controlled state must be so claustrophobic. While this is the only way of life that she’s ever known, she still knows that there is a whole big world out there that she will never get to experience. I kept wondering if I would want to keep living if I couldn’t actually live my life the way normal eighteen-year-olds did. Would I just be existing, doing my daily routines and constantly disappointed that there could never be anything more? What a depressing and lonely life that would be. It was hard not to like and feel for Madeline. Despite her condition, she still longed for all of the normal things that any other young woman her age would want, however, she realized that she would never have all of the normal life experiences that others had the good fortune of having.
When Madeline saw her new neighbors moving in next door, her interest in them piqued as soon as she saw the teenaged boy who was close to her age. He appeared to be everything that she wasn’t: athletic, lithe, and comfortable in his own skin. Watching and wanting something that she could never have was almost the biggest punishment, but despite her lifestyle, Madeline was still able to develop a friendship with Olly. Between online messages, signaling each other from their bedroom windows, and a few visits that Carla daringly allowed, they became fast friends who grew to care deeply for one another. Madeline was beginning to feel things that she had never felt before. It was a time of firsts that she never thought she’d have and she wasn’t ready to let those feelings go. It wasn’t just Madeline who needed the connection, he needed her companionship just as much. He was going through his own issues and needed someone to lean on as well.
Nicola Yoon created a unique storyline with characters that I was completely invested in. I wasn’t sure where she was going to take Madeline’s story or what would become of her relationship with Olly. I was swept up in their tale of young love and the obvious obstacles that they had in front of them. I wanted them to find their slice of happiness, to break through the barriers that separated them, to be able to live their lives to the fullest. But how could that happen when their relationship just seemed to be doomed before it could ever really get off the ground?
Everything, Everything was a fast-paced read that was as quirky and unique as it was compelling. While I would love to discuss every little detail, I don’t want divulge too much and take away from anyone else’s reading experience. My suggestion? Read it, take the journey along with the characters, and hang on to your seat!
*Everything, Everything has been made into a major motion picture.
By Nicola Yoon
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