My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s been a while since I read Everything Everything, so this mightn’t be the most in depth review…
I first heard about this book last year at YALC (which is coming around again very soon…) and just wasn’t interested. I heard really good things but continuously didn’t pick it up, and then the #ZoellaBookClub came to town. For those of you who don’t know, the Zoella Book Club is a promotion in the UK where Zoella (a famous Youtuber) fronts the campaign and chose 8 books to promote (and they’re also on offer in store). They also have new cover designs (mostly colour changes to the original covers) and that’s partly why I bought some.
So Everything Everything got a minor cover change – from blue to pink – but it’s super gorgeous and looks fab on my shelf. Now onto the actual book…
Everything Everything is the story of Madeline, a half-Japanese half-Black girl who is allergic to the world. She can only socialise with her Mum and her nurse, Carla, and she can never ever go outside. A boy moves next door – Olly – and suddenly Madeline wants to go outside. They strike up a sweet friendship online and they fall in love.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’ll definitely pick up more of Nicola Yoon’s work, but I found the topic a little problematic. In short, this book let me down on a few key issues – if you haven’t read the book and plan on reading it, these may be a little spoilery.
Madeline has a severe immune reaction to the outside world, but she doesn’t react to food in the book. As someone with food allergies, I found this a little disappointing – many of the most common allergies are to food, and I would have liked to see a character who struggles with food in this way. I really don’t want to give too much away about the end of the book, but I felt let down in this respect, especially as many people dismiss food allergies and think you’re making it all up for attention (not true!).
The second issue I have is essentially the ending – it undermined the entire rest of the story and was way too happily-ever-after. Disabilities don’t magically disappear or get better, and when disability is so poorly represented, these books are really damaging.
Because Madeline is such a diverse character with severe immune issues, I was genuinely surprised that this didn’t come into play – mixed race people find it much more difficult to find donor matches, and this would have been a great way to highlight their plight when faced with cancer, for example.
Overall, an enjoyable read with a problematic ending that could have been so much more interesting.