I haven’t posted a review in a bit, but I’m back again! Just enjoying the summer and reading away! I’m 22 books away from hitting my 2016 Goodreads Challenge goal of 50 books for the year! I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve always been a big reader. The kind of person who’s always got a book on their desk or bedside table. But compared to last year, I’ve read more this year alone than the past 3 years combined!
Now onto my review:
A couple of weeks ago I read ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon. I loved it! It was that kind of first love story that makes you sigh. I only hope one day I’ll be able to relate.
This story is about an eighteen year old girl named Madeline Wittier. Maddy for short. Maddy has an extremely rare disease, called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or (SCID). it’s a rare, genetic disorder that disturbs the function of B and T cells in the body, which puts victims extremely vulnerable to infectious diseases. Basically having this permits you to living in a sterile bubble.
Maddy doesn’t remember very much before her disease took over her life. Her father and older brother died in a car accident years before, leaving just Maddy, her overbearing, albeit, loving mother, a doctor, and her nurse, Carla. Maddy doesn’t know what it’s like to be outside, play sports, go to the movies, or have any friends outside in the real world. She desperately wants to be a normal teenager, but instead she’s trapped by the fear brought upon by both her disease and her over-cautious mother.
Maddy takes classes online, communicating with her teachers through email or over Skype. One tutor is allowed to visit Maddy, but in order to do this, he needs to completely disinfect himself before setting foot in her heavily filtered house. One day, though, Maddy notices a moving van parked outside the house next door. Peering through the curtains of her room, Maddy sees a family consisting of a harried, timid mother, an overly dominant father, an angst-ridden teenage girl, and an older teenage boy who seems to be her own age. Maddy feels drawn to him. The only thing pulling her away from her clean, hypoallergenic curtains, is the moment they lock eyes.
After countless curious afternoons spent looking through her bedroom window for the boy next door, Maddy is smitten. Her nurse Carla calls her out on it, and while she pleads that Carla keep it from her mother, she doesn’t refrain from memorizing his schedule. Soon Madeline learns that his mom and sister call him Olly. His dad, she realizes, calls him Oliver.
One afternoon, shortly after Olly and his family are moved in, Maddy hears the doorbell ring. Maddy runs toward the door only to be held back from Carla. Her curiosity gets the best of her when she hears a boy and girl’s voices at the front door. She realizes it’s Olly. And he has a cake. Him mom baked it , but Maddy’s mother must refuse. Instead of giving the true reason behind her refusal, Olly’s sister calls Maddy’s mother out for her rudeness. Following the cake incident, Maddy retreats to her bedroom window, and sees Olly and his sister met by their father on their front lawn. Their father looks angry. The next thing she knows, Olly’s father takes the cake and throws it on the ground. Maddy watches as Olly ‘s father yells at him to clean up the broken plate, as the cake didn’t crumble. From this Madeline learns a bit more about Olly and his home life.
Soon Maddy finds herself communicating with Olly through their adjoining bedroom windows. From there they begin emailing one another after learning one another’s email addresses written across their windows.
From their smitten and coy emails, Maddy decides she wants to meet Olly once and for all. She proposes the idea for Olly to come over to Carla. After several “no ways”, Carla submits. Declaring to Maddy that love could be a good thing. They keep their plan between them and arrange for Olly to come over as long as he and Madeline do not touch and stay on opposite sides of the living room.
After several secret visits and emails, Maddy finds out that she likes Olly very much. And he really likes her.
One day when Olly comes over, they kiss. And when Maddy is left waiting for the worst to happen to her, she realizes that Olly touching her did not hurt her. It’s only when Maddy is woken in the middle of the night to Olly’s father drunkenly screaming at Olly his Mother out on their front lawn that Maddy discovers that her condition may not be all that she thought it was. Soon Maddy finds herself out of her bed, out of her house, and running through her front door with her mother at her heels when she finds that she’s breathing the outside air and she isn’t dying.
This moment is what brings Maddy to the decision to take a giant leap of faith and finally live the life she’s always wanted. To experience the normal, teenage moments she’s always wanted to, with Olly at her side. When Maddy and Olly decide to take an adventure together, she discovers that her disease and her mother won’t hold her back much longer, not if she can help it.
This one was a solid 4/5 stars for me. TI enjoyed the format. The email messaging format of Olly and Maddy’s early conversations. Her doodles were cute and had me shaking my head and saying “Same!” in agreement. The end had me speechless. There are a lot of questions I had about the ending. I’ll discuss them below, because if you haven’t read this yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you, Hence the condensed review.
So when Maddy runs away to Hawaii with Olly and she tells him she bought pills online that will help her function outside her sterile living environment. But she’s lying. And then Maddy begins to realize that hey, she’s not dying! Then she passes out. But what she assumes the reason for her passing out is her condition, the doctor tells her that she’s never had the condition in the first place. That her mother was lying to her for all that time?! I was like, “WHAT THE WHAT?!” I couldn’t believe that this girl’s own mother, a doctor, by the way, would keep her daughter locked up in her house, fully convinced that she has this extremely rare disease. Basically knocking on death’s doorstep and prone to be taken to heaven at any time. How are you not taken to jail? How would Maddy forgive her mother for that?! I understand her mother was hurting from the deaths of her husband and Maddy’s brother, but, honestly, WHAT THE FUCK?! She needs help. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I truly mean it in an honest way. She needs help with her grieving. Maybe let’s not lie to your now, only child, that she has this rare disease in order to ensure her safety! Does she not understand how mentally damaging that would be for her daughter?
That’s really the only thing I couldn’t wrap my head around in this novel. Other than that I thought it was sweet. A beautiful novel of first love and discovering who those who love you really are.