Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon (2015)

Everything, EverythingWe have all heard of babies born so allergic they live in a bubble. A sterile world designed to protect them from the perils of everyday life: germs, bacteria, and even otherwise benign things that might trigger a deadly reaction. Imagine living this life. What would it be like to spend your childhood and adolescence protected from dangers but with virtually no contact with the outside world? To have never known a car ride, the jostle of strangers in a line-up, or the earthy smell of the air after a rainstorm. This is the life Madeline Whittier lives with her mother, a physician, and Carla, her daytime nurse. Learning is by skype, with very occasional visits by tutors, who must keep a cautious distance. Such visits are carefully orchestrated, as visitors have to undergo a decontamination process before entering the home via an airlock that ensures only filtered air reaches Madeline’s lungs. Though she longs to know more of the outside world, Madeline accepts her fate, until the day soon after her 18th birthday, when a new family moves in next door, including Olly. Olly of the blue eyes and powerful lean muscles. Olly whose family has its own set of problems. Despite the odds, a virtual friendship grows via miming and scrawled window messages, which graduate to IM conversations. When Carla permits the two to meet, the attraction is palpable. The book is beautifully written by first-time author Yoon, featuring authentic and often humourous dialogue between the teens tenderly discovering each other and their feelings. Hand-drawn art by David Yoon, the author’s husband, add a delightful tactile element. I enjoyed bibliophile Madeline’s Spoiler Reviews, and particularly her adoration of the philosophical lessons of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery, a book she maintains offers readers something new with every reading. The ending is somewhat controversial; I was not expecting the plot twist at all, and while it doesn’t ring true for me, I still appreciate the satisfaction it will provide for most young readers. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable story that will cause you to stop and truly appreciate the daily pleasures we so take for granted.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18692431


About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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