Maddy has so many allergies that she can’t leave the house. Ever. The last time she’s been outside was as a baby 17 years ago. The only people she’s in contact with are her mother, who’s also a doctor, and her nurse Clara.
Olly is the boy who moves in next door. Maddy watches him and his family; mainly his abusive father mistreating Olly, his sister and mother. Starting with notes held against their neighbouring windows, Olly and Maddy begin to communicate. But chatting online isn’t enough, and Maddy is willing to throw all caution to the winds just to meet another living breathing person.
First of all – what a wonderful book to end 2015 with! I loved it from the first page onward, and kept loving it while I finished it during the Christmas holidays at my parents‘ house and on the train back.
The story is told from Maddy’s perspective, and having had no social contacts with people her age she sometimes is a bit full of herself and thinks she knows better because she’s read so many books; something that Nicola Yoon manages to weave into the way she’s telling the story without being too obvious. But still you grow to like Maddy through the way she’s friends with her nurse Clara and the way she befriends – and falls for – Olly.
While trying to cope with new feelings or structuring things that she’s observed, Maddy uses sketches, tables, charts and pictures to illustrate what’s going on with her which is a lovely way to structure a book. I especially enjoyed her one-line book reviews of classics. The illustrations, beautifully done by the author’s husband David, are one of the many things that make this books special and fun to read or just leaf through.
A few events in the plotline were a little foreseeable, (SPOILER ALERT) like Maddy and Olly actually meeting and being caught, and their breakout and Maddy ending up in hospital (SPOILER END); others are not so easily detectable unless you read like me, think about weird stuff, tell yourself you’re paranoid for assuming that something like that would actually happen, and then it happens.
One main issue in the book is abuse in all the forms it can take: emotional, physical, being forced to stay inside by an illness, not having friends or the possibility to find new ones etc.; sadly very relevant things for many young adults at who the book is aimed.
Ultimately, Everything, Everything is a story of escape: Maddy escaping her tiny bubble and her mother, and Olly escaping his father without losing his mother and sister. Both believe that they need each other in order to manage their escape, but in the end they succeed on their own before finding their way back together. That sounded mysterious? Well, you’ll just have to read the book yourself! It’s so worth it!