Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Black - Stephanie's Review of EVERYTHING EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Children
Publication Date: 9/1/2015


This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe 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.

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Everything, Everything is her first novel.

Madeline Whittier is the girl in the bubble. She’s allergic to everything. Madeline’s been sick for as long as she can remember, forced to live inside her home with purified air, white walls and little contact with anyone but her beloved nurse Carla and her mother. She’s resigned to live vicariously through characters in her books, and through the few friends she has online. She’s never really wanted or expected, or thought about more.
Until one day, a truck pulls into the driveway of the house next door, bringing a dysfunctional family and the curious boy Olly, who changes Everything, Everything in Madeline’s life.
Meeting Olly transforms the tiny, perfect world Maddy lives in. Like the scene in the Wizard of Oz, where once everything was just black and white, or in Maddy’s case white, everything turns vibrant and colorful. Where she once felt nothing, she now feels everything.  She’s never questioned the outside world; it’s just a part of life that doesn’t exist to her. Until Olly arrives, she’s perfectly content with the life of school work, and Friday Night French dinners, Phonetic Scrabble and Pictionary with her mom. But when she meets Olly, he opens up the possibilities of more, of being able to touch another human and live a normal life with normal teenage experiences, including friendship and eventually love
Not that I begrudge my life in books. All I know about the world I’ve learned from them. but a description of a tree is not a tree, and a thousand paper kisses will never equal the feel of Olly's lips against mine.
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, partially because of the buzz and the stellar reviews it was garnering, but also because I'm a huge fan of the movie Bubble Boy, and Everything Everything is exactly what this reminded me of. Its smart, laugh out loud funny and times (bundt cake is awesome), and extremely heartbreaking at just the right moments. As a bonus, Maddy is Half African American, and half Japanese, (beautiful visual, right?) which is a first in my YA readership experience, and hopefully not the last. Bonus Bonus: Interspersed with text, Maddy treats the reader to various charts, drawings, poetry, texts, emails, and little snippets of important papers which help us see into her life.
I absolutely adored this book, the twist it takes, the evolution of Madeline into Maddy, all the relationships Maddy has, as well as that it’s not focused heavily on medial facts, but giving just enough information to be realistic. And Olly, how I loved Olly and everything everything about him.
5 joyful stats for this. I’d give 10 if I could.
Huge thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC.

Pearl Jam - Black

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