Friday, December 11, 2015

Everything, Everything

Image result for everything yoonEverything, Everything
Nicola Yoon
Delacorte, 2015  320 pgs
Grades 9-Up
Realistic Fiction

Madeline Whittier is not a typical seventeen-year-old. She is cursed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, a condition where she she has zero immune system and must remain in her air filtered house with no physical contact with the outside world. The only people she sees are her doctor mother and her nurse, Carla, who is her only friend. Maddy lost her father and brother in a car accident when just a baby and her mother has never fully recovered from the incident. The game changes when a cute teenage boy moves into the house next door and the two become friends, first through gestures, and then through e-mail and messaging. The boy, Olly, has troubles of his own. His alcoholic father has anger management issues and is both mentally and physically abusive to the family. Friendship leads to romance as Carla breaks the rules, allowing Olly entrance into the house. Eventually, Mom find out about Olly, Carla gets fired, and Maddy loses all computer privileges and remaining contact with the outside world. What should she do? Should Maddy play it safe, living half a life, or take a chance, risking her health and her mother's love? Maddy's choices and the fallout follow, leading the reader to an emotional and surprising conclusion.

More dead-girl fiction that is sure to appeal to readers of Fault in Our Stars and All the Bright Places. Maddy's actual disease is new to the genre and is sure to appeal to teenage girls. I remember watching the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble with John Travolta over and over again as a young teenager and crying every time. Maddy has the John Travolta disease, but her mother has managed to turn the whole house into the plastic bubble. Maddy is a liakable character and the reader will both identify and root for her. She lives her life through reading and books and is especially naive about the ways of the world, which will also most likely appeal to the targeted audience. Olly is interesting and kind and the relationship is believable. The story itself is well crafted, reads quickly, and offers some unexpected plot twists. Yoon infuses the text with messages, e-mails, medical reports and airplane tickets, both to create interest and to move the plot along in a visual way, which teens will relate to. Everything, Everything is an addicting book and reads like eating potato chips: hard to stop. My only complaint is that it ends a little too unrealistically. I like the direction Yoon took towards the end, but felt that she sewed up Maddy's life a little too neatly, feeling obligated to offer Maddy a happy-ever-after. Everything, Everything has sold very well this fall and half of the copies owned by my library consortium are out, proving that the dead-girl genre is alive and well (pardon the bad pun). Teens girls will love this book and to its credit its a cut above the average fare.

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