I have a habit of requesting fictional books that address real-life diseases. I can’t help it. But I requested Everything, Everything because of that (“a girl who’s allergic to everything”) and because it sounded kind of awesome. And the COVER. Guys.
“I’ve read many more books than you.”
What a first sentence! I liked Madeline immediately. She obviously liked books, and she’s mouthy. She has a tumblr and she reviews her books. Books remain an integral part of the whole story! Booknerd alert: I basically love her. Sometimes she re-reads her favourite books from back to front, and she writes things in the front of her books, like this:
My issue with the book was this: SCID is NOT being “allergic to everything”. SCID is a primary immune deficiency. It inhibits the person’s ability to fight off infection. An allergy is an immune RESPONSE due to a stimulus, involving mast cells and IgE and all sorts of things that aren’t really pertinent to this discussion.
Basically: Madeline is NOT allergic to everything, so that terminology grated me a bit. Accuracy is super-important, even if it is a rare condition that most people will never encounter. Also, there is not “NO CURE for SCID”. There is a cure: bone marrow transplant. As a biracial individual Madeline’s chances of finding a match would be small but she could have at least been on a LIST.
But anyway, I do understand the concept of creative license and I’m pretty good at getting over things so I didn’t let it ruin the rest of the book for me – yay!
While we’re at it: why is everything white?? Colour isn’t dangerous. I don’t get it. I suppose it was meant to convey the whole clinical setting but it annoyed me. Madeline is an intelligent girl who does research and surely she would have figured out that things that aren’t white aren’t a danger. On a more analytical level it makes for good contrast, especially when Olly-dressed-in-black enters the picture.
“He’s not safe. He’s not familiar. He’s in constant motion.”
Side note: since this is a book review I should probably mention the writing. I didn’t notice it, which must mean it was good! It was unobtrusive, and allowed the story to take centre-stage.
So now: OLLY ENTERS THE PICTURE. And he’s a bit of an archetype, and I’m sure many readers will swoon (I don’t swoon), but he does parkour so there’s something interesting about him! And I didn’t NOT like him, he was a likeable character who valued his family and seemed to be respectful of Madeline.
I loved seeing Madeline discover friendship and romance for the first time. It was so much fun. Madeline has an awesome sense of humour, and so does Olly. Their IM transcripts are hilarious! I liked that “love” was not displayed as the solution to everything, but something to be discovered and enjoyed.
“I think that’s nonsense. We’re not snowflakes. We’re just outputs for a set of inputs.”
Madeline makes some seriously dumb decisions. So does Olly. But she’s a teenager! That’s what teenagers do! Even those who live in bubbles. I actually liked that she was fallible. (I can’t be so forgiving of the adults in the novel who made bad decisions though…)
BUT NOW. There is a huge plot twist. And I kind of saw it coming (if you’ve read it ask me how and I’ll tell you) BUT IT’S BIG. It changed EVERYTHING. And I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not sure if it could WORK. It just… aaaargh. I don’t know how to explain how much this plot twist changed my view of the whole book.
But then THIS thing happened: I was reading my eARC on the Kindle app and then I discovered that there were actual DRAWINGS in the book so I re-read it on my DL reader (I hardly EVER re-read). And suddenly that twist didn’t matter because the little drawings and diagrams and fine attention to detail just MADE. MY. DAY. So much so that I absolutely plan on owning a physical copy of this book.
This book wasn’t earth-shattering for me, but I liked it. One last point: the romance did not make me gag (I am NOT soppy), which made me insanely happy.
If you’re a contemporary YA reader looking for something imaginative and enjoyable, grab this one. My suggestion: buy the physical copy rather than an ebook!
Disclaimer: Thanks Penguin Random House for the eARC, all opinions are unbiased. Also, the quotes above are subject to change as they are from the ARC. They were just too gorgeous not to share!