“I was trying so hard to find the single pivotal moment that set my life on its path. The moment that answered the question, 'How did I get here?'
But it's never just one moment. It's a series of them. And your life can branch out from each one in a thousand different ways. Maybe there's a version of your life for all the choices you make and all the choices you don't.”
I was excited to read Everything, Everything ever since reading a short synopsis with it's debut. There is something that sucks me in like a good YA novel with an interesting premise.
In Yoon's debut, Madeline has a rare disease where she is not allowed out of her home. Any germ or allergen can make her sick, so her mother has arranged for around the clock care, homeschool tutors, and regular check-ups to make sure Madeline is healthy.
But things all change when a new family moves in next door, and Madeline spots Olly (Oliver) outside. The 2 begin communicating, at first with notes on their windows, but then through e-mail before Madeline's nurse arranges for them to meet in person.
The novel carries on from there, with a love story between the two.
So, what did I love about this novel? Besides it's interesting premise, it very much reminded me of young love. When you're young and in love, you take risks you might not otherwise. You might stay out later, say things that might get you hurt, or take a chance on a kiss that you shouldn't. That's the beauty of young love. And I think Yoon captured that turmoil and risk well, and portrayed it in a way that felt honest and true.
Because of Madeline's illness, and her confinement, she is slightly more immature than your average 18 year old, so her responses and insights rang true with me. And it reminded me of my own feelings of young love-that giddy rush and surge of butterflies.
However, I also think Yoon tackled some heavy topics well. Olly's home life is rough, with an abusive and drunk father. And while that storyline could have swung into cheesy land, I think Yoon navigated it well and responsibly (in a way that made sense and didn't trivialize what was actually happening).
I also think Yoon brought up interesting points about risk and fear...and how sometimes, you have to fight fear to take a risk. Sometimes it is worth it. It gave me a little nudge to take a leap of faith now and then.
“Everything's a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It's up to you.”
I think that's an important point for teens, and well, for me as an adult. It's okay to take chances and reach out for things you think are outside of your grasp. I need to do that more.
My one complaint with the novel had to do with the "twist." I think, as any avid reader, I've become quite attuned to "twists" and when they're coming, and that was true for this novel as well. However, I don't think the twist detracted too much from the story, and while I think a compelling ending could have been written without it, I still enjoyed the novel as a whole.
So if you're looking for a well-written contemporary teen romance, I suggest you give this one a chance. It was just what I needed on readathon day.
“It's a hard concept to hold on to--the idea that there was a time before us. A time before time.
In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.”
*Everything, Everything was the 6th book I finished for #15in31! Hooray!