Everything, Everything is the story of an 18 year old girl named Madeline, who is pretty much allergic to everything in the world, and I mean this quite literally. She has this rare disease called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID for short), more commonly known as the ‘bubble baby disease’.
Her sickness basically requires her to be isolated from everyone and everything in the world, which is why she has never left the house all her life. Only her mother, who is also her primary doctor, and Carla, her nurse, who comes in everyday to watch her for 8 hours in her mother’s absence, are allowed to be in the house with her, and even they have to get properly ‘decontaminated’ every single time they enter the house.
Enter, Oliver – the boy next door, who instantly captures Madeline’s attention, and for the first time, makes her curious to get to know more of the world outside the four walls of her house, to get to know more about the people who inhabit it, to truly get to know Olly.
“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.”
The main reason I picked this book up was because it sounded very different from anything that I had read. And the hype, of-course the hype! So many people were falling over themselves praising this book, that I couldn’t stay away. Moreover, the movie was coming out (it released two days back) so it was just perfect timing, all around.
Then when I finally read the book, my very first impression was that it’s a super fast read. And I am by no means a fast reader; in fact I am a really slow one. But a dialogue intensive format, along with the many illustrations & charts, propels the story forward without needing a lot of words, and makes it an easy breezy read.
Things I liked
Firstly, this was quite the page turner, the narration and the pace kept me hooked. Also, given their unique situation, where she was allergic to everything, and couldn’t step out of the house, I was curious to know how things will work out (or if they will), for this set of star crossed lovers, so that kept me racing through the book as well.
“Just because you can’t experience everything, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything. Besides, doomed love is a part of life.”
And speaking of the lead pair, I liked them both. Maddy was sweet, thoughtful, and bright; Olly was fun, quick witted, and a pretty smart guy himself. Though neither of them were wise beyond their years like some other YA protagonists. *cough* John Green *cough* They acted their age, and felt like real people, real teens.
Also, they were pretty great together; they complimented each other well. They are the kind of couple of you want to root for.
But I have to also mention something here, since I have ranted about this endlessly in other book reviews. Depending on how you look at it, their initial attraction can come across as very insta-love-y, which if you have been following my reviews for some time, is something I absolutely hate. But in this case, in their particular situation, it kinda made sense. You’ll see why when you read the book.
Things I didn’t like
Okay, so this is quite complicated, because most of the issues I have with this book, fall in the spoiler territory, which is why I don’t really want to list them out here (though if you have read the book, let’s chat about it in the comments).
For now I will speak more broadly (and vaguely). In this book, as the story progresses, we get to know that a particular character is suffering from pretty significant behavioral issues (this isn’t most accurate way to phrase it, but definitely the spoiler free way), but the author did not really do justice to its portrayal.
Then there are some events in the book that promote the idea of able-ism, which I clearly do not agree with. And I found this especially disappointing in a book which has good diversity representation. It’s sad that the author did not feel the necessity to treat disability representation with the same sensitivity that she displayed while handling diversity representation.
Now I know that any book (or anything at all for that matter) cannot be all things to all people, but I believe that there were ways to handle this story with more responsibility, without having to introduce a cop-out twist during the climax.
Moreover, speaking of the concluding sequence, while for the most part, I was okay with it, I could’ve done with a bit more resolution at the end. It felt rushed, and I kept turning pages several times back and forth to ensure that it had indeed ended, and I had not missed some part of the grand finale.
All in all, I did like Everything Everything. In-spite of the issues I had with this book, it was still a pretty entertaining read, so I would recommend it to people who are looking for some easy breezy contemporary romance with a relatively unique plot.
I wouldn’t recommend it to folks who have strong opinions on disability representation, because they would possibly find this pretty aggravating.
Note: If you are someone who likes to read the book before the movie (and this particular movie is out in theaters now), this is one book you can get through pretty quickly, so it’s not too late to read the book before you see the movie. Though until then, stay away from the trailer, as it is kinda spoiler-y.
That’s all from my end folks. I would love to hear from you guys. Have you read Everything Everything? How did you find it? Are you planning on seeing the movie? Do share!
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