‘EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING’: Contemporary YA Experiences ‘Everything’ For the First Time


‘EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING’: Contemporary YA Experiences 'Everything' For the First Time. Review of the popular 2016 YA novel. Text © Rissi JC

STORY: The world is not a stage for 17-year-old Maddy. Instead of doing “normal,” Maddy is confined to her room and has been for the last 16 years. She has a disease that makes her allergic to, well, everything. Unable to have visitors never mind see the world, Maddy lives with her mother (a doctor) and the nurse who comes to monitor her condition daily. Then everything changes. He moves next door.

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Olly is scared. His father is no role model, and yet his mother remains with him. He stays for the sake of his sister and mother. From the moment he spots Maddy in the window, Olly takes in interest in his sheltered neighbor. Through IM conversations and eventually, a meeting, this unlikely pair forge a friendship that takes them to unexpected places.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | Book Review

Those who read the YA market will know Nicola Yoon is a popular author. Most of what I’ve read in relation to her novels is complimentary, and I can see why. Her debut novel, Everything, Everything is a fragile thread that stitches together an equally delicate story that is sure to tug on your heartstrings.

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.” – Nicola Yoon

The story’s beginning and format is one of the most unique I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. A novel about a character who is allergic to everything (the world, people) and susceptible to everything (for more reasons than one) is an incredible challenge. Its outline and progression has the potential to become confining. In the hands of this author, no such complication arises. Instead of reading as boring, this blossoms into a narrative that challenges and fixes itself in our hearts. It’s a first, one person narrative yet even still, nothing gets stuck.

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‘EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING’: Contemporary YA Experiences 'Everything' For the First Time #FWarchives #YALit Click To Tweet

The one thing that may bother some readers, depending on your definition, is the ending. Or the prelude to the ending. For  me, it’s a beautiful juxtaposition that, yes, does pave some roads, but in no way erases them. Just because a clear(er) path is set forth in no way means everything comes up daisies. Yoon gives us a satisfactory conclusion without paining everything perfectly, and I loved that. The transition from devastation to hope feels real, and while the book does simply “end,” for me, there couldn’t have been better words or setting with which to end this.

With the film adaptation releasing May 19th, there is no better time to pick up Nicola Yoon’s debut. It’s charming and sweet; swoony and a little bit sassy, plus Olly and Maddy? They’re a sweet couple easy to “ship” and root for. Their relationship grows primarily from their notes to one another, and it works to the benefit of this format. Between the fun doodles and short chapters, this is a quick read that still feels “full.” In other words, it’s a story that will work its way into your heart. ♥

About the Book

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House)
Source: Purchase
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Content: There is some minor, commonplace language. Teens spend the night together; though there’s no misunderstanding they have slept together, the scene isn’t graphic. The content would earn a PG13 rating.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I don't usually go for YA romance, but I read Yoon's 'The Sun Is Also a Star' for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge and I enjoyed it. Not 4-stars enjoyed it, but it's a near miracle I found a YA romance book I would give even 3 stars to. I've seen the trailer for the movie adaptation of Everything Everything and the premise intrigues me far more than 'The Sun Is Also a Star' did, so *maybe* I'll give it a try. Or at least watch the film version.

    1. I'm glad (for its genre) that you liked The Sun is Also a Star, Kate. I plan to read that one next because I liked this one. I have seen most people say 'Star' is stronger than this, which is Nicola's debut. I loved this one because it's such an easy read and yet, there is plenty of depth and complexity. No matter what, I hope you enjoy it.

      Like you, historically, I watch the film adaptations, but I've been *trying* to go the extra mile and read the books first. (Trying being the key word. :D)

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  2. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book. The structure of the storytelling intrigued me with it's lovely brevity, but there were also times that I wanted MORE so I could better see/feel/understand what was happening. (I.e. There were a couple times I felt like I was fighting to catch up with insta-love.) Also, I'm one of those who wasn't exactly pleased with the ending… It felt like what ended up happening steered harshly away from what the whole rest of the book had been exploring. (Does that make sense? Trying not to give things away…) Anyway, I still found the writing beautiful and might still look into reading Yoon's other books. And I'll watch the movie. Maybe having those visuals will better fill in those gaps I felt the book had?

    1. I get precisely what you're saying, Joni. And agree. There are some great points here.

      This book could have given MORE. Sometimes its format limits itself. That said, there is something that "works" about its format too. It flows really well, and despite the unrealistic nature of its concept (insta-love), I forgive it. Mostly. ;)

      I think the ending could be coined as "easy," but at the same time I appreciate HOW Yoon ended things. It still wasn't all sunshine and roses, which made the rapidness of its conclusion "feel" real.

      I hear Yoon's 'Star' is stronger than this, so I'm curious. :)

      So glad you stopped by, Joni. Always glad to chat with you!

  3. I rarely read YA these days but this book has been on my radar for a while, mostly because of the author. I've heard great things about her and am so curious about her writing.
    Anyway, awesome review. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I'd heard great things about Nicola too, Geybie! And now I've read this one (which I adored), I cannot wait to read The Sun is Also a Star. :)

      Thanks for visiting.

  4. I really liked this one too. I do know that some people are unhappy with the ending, but like you said, I don't think everything was wrapped up perfectly at all! I think it was just… a new set of issues to overcome, but I get why some people are upset, especially if they have a similar illness. I am so excited to see the movie, too! I love Amandla, and I loved the story so much! Great review!

    1. *high five* Glad you too enjoyed this one, Shannon.

      I get how people can feel as if this was too "neat" an ending. BUT I think Nicola does a wonderful job that is in no way disrespectful to us or the characters. Still, I respect that everyone has their opinions and that's as it should be. :)

      Bring on that film! I cannot wait to see it. It looks SO good. I've not seen Amanda in anything, but if the trailer is anything to judge by, she's going to be an amazing Maddy. :)

      Thanks for visiting.

  5. While I liked Madeline and Olly, I felt like a geezer when I was listening to the audiobook – I agreed more with the mom (before that twist anyway). I actually liked that twist, too! :D

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