Everything, Everything is a book that I’ve been looking forward to reading for a long, long time. I’ve heard a lot of hype about how absolutely wonderful Nicola Yoon‘s first novel is in addition to obsessively watching the movie trailer once or twice (more like seven times). So when I picked up this book a few days ago and began my most recent read, I was expecting the literary equivalent of a firework show.
What I got was soft and slow at first. Madeline Whittier, eighteen-year-old girl diagnosed with a horrible disease known as SCID: in short, Madeline is allergic to an immense amount of stimuli, so much so that she appears to be allergic to everything. She met her first trigger when she was a baby in an episode that almost ended her short life and since then, she has not left her house per her mother’s orders.
Madeline is content with her condition and her life… until a handsome problem dressed in black moves into the house next door. Even though they have never spoken due to Maddy’s unconditional house arrest, Olly Bright quickly takes an interest in Maddy, reaching out to her over IM and forming a friendship that quickly evolves into something that is friendlier than friendship (if you know what I mean). Maddy and Olly’s conversations over IM and their first face-to-face interactions are sweet enough to give you cavities. Given the circumstances, everything between our two young lovebirds seems to be going swimmingly.
But as we all know when it comes to love, we all want a mile even when we are given only an inch. Fleeting glances and swift kisses are not enough for Maddy and Olly, so she throws caution to the wind and decides to pursue what fuels her happiness with unabashed determination. Maddy leaves her hospital-grade filters and air-locked doors in the dust. She books two tickets to Hawaii, rescues her prince from his abusive father, and flies off into the sunset. Is it stupid? Probably. Is it romantic? Definitely.
If a girl is allergic to literally everything and has not been outside since she was an infant, you can probably imagine what happens next. After their blissful yet short-lived escape ends in catastrophe, Madeline is zipped up into her airtight container and Olly’s family moves away. The red curtain appears to close as violins play a sad song… but then something changes.
I won’t disclose the nature of this change because spoilers are mean, but I would recommend wearing a seatbelt when reading this INSANE plot twist. It gets pretty gnarly. There may have been tears shed.
Despite the seriously intense (and possibly cruel) twist of fate at the end, something magical happened as I read this book. There’s something about the juxtaposition of the characters and the unwavering passion of young love that reminded me that some things are worth being stupid for. Some things are beautiful and otherworldly and misunderstood and boxed in by the menial declarations that we make in regards to what is right and what is wrong.
Every once in a while, something so magnificent comes along that it can’t be comprehended in full from our current perspective. Every once in a while, we have to break out of our own walls and capture beauty for beauty’s sake. Every once in a while, we stumble upon a situation in which we must think with our hearts in lieu of our brains. We all have one chance to see what our world looks like, so why not take the risk and see everything, everything?