Genre: Young Adult
Length: 310 pages
To paraphrase the back cover:
Maddy has SCID. Essentially, she has a weak immune system and can easily get an infection and die. She must be confined to her house, and everything and everyone who enters must be thoroughly decontaminated. She is very close to her mom and her nurse, she enjoys reading and posting on her blog, she is happy with her life and she doesn’t wish for more. That is, until she meets Olly, the new boy who moves next door.
I am a bit late on the Everything Everything bandwagon, now that the book has many many raving reviews and even a movie. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical because of the hype behind this book. But I fell in love with it.
I admire the simplicity of the story. Maddy watches Olly from her window, and she is intrigued by him. It is predictable that she will fall in love, and that it will be disastrous because of her illness (even the back cover tells us that.) We can probably guess what kind of disaster may be involved, and we wouldn’t be far off. The thing is, even if none of the events came as a surprise, I still wanted to keep reading, because I wanted to know how Maddy and Olly fall in love, and how they overcome their predicament.
With that being said, there is a plot point towards the end of the novel that I don’t know whether I love or hate. That’s for you to decide.
The relationship between Maddy and Olly is the driving force of the novel. Despite Maddy’s illness, she makes the most of her life. She is strong-willed and follows her heart. (Did I mention that Maddy is a Japanese-African-American? As a Chinese-Canadian, I LOVE reading about Asian characters, or characters from a minority group in general.) Upon first impression, Olly is more cynical. But deep down, he has a kind and gentle soul. The chemistry between the two characters is palpable. The dialogue is funny, witty and flows so well. The side characters are interesting and multi-faceted, from Maddy’s loving and quirky nurse to her overprotective mom.
This is a fast and easy read. Was it Stephen King who had once said that great novels have been written with simple words? This is such a novel. There are no big words in this book and it is perhaps better off that way. (I believe the word “sepulchre” has made an appearance, but that was when Maddy was trying to make a point.) I appreciate how IMs and emails are written into the novel. I absolutely adore Maddy’s blog posts (especially her “spoiler reviews”, which are hilarious). The illustrations are simply breathtaking and amazing. All of this makes the book a page-turner. I started the book at 7:30PM and finished it right before midnight, only getting up once to walk my dog.
For all the hopeless romantics out there, stop what you are doing and read this book. You will be lost in the beautiful story of Maddy and Olly that is hard to put down until the very last page.
Have you read Everything Everything or seen the movie? What do you think? If not, will you be reading this book or seeing the movie?