Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Review Review: A Review of Everything Everything

Everything Everything is a book by Nicola Yoon, who also wrote The Sun is Also a Star, which I previously reviewed here. It is told from the POV of Madeline Whittier, an 18-year-old girl suffering with SCID. A cute boy moves in next door... wait, where have I heard that plot before? But in this case it works, because there would be no other way for her to meet someone new. A big part of the driving force of the plot is how Madeline really hasn't been able to experience life like a normal human.

The story is told with inserts of webpages, Madeline's schoolwork (she's homeschooled) and things like old diary entries. One page in particular sticks out so much that my curiosity got the better of me and I peeked, thereby spoiling myself of the events on that page. Oops, but it was my own fault. In a way it worked because then I was interested in reading the events that led up to it, but the alternate colour of the page does that, anyway.

I have to state that I love Madeline as a protagonist. She reads like I read, as a way to experience things she wouldn't normally. She also is the only character in literature to accurately describe how I feel about travelling. The sense of wonder, adventure and excitement. It doesn't take long for Madeline to develop an obsession with Olly, neglecting other parts of her life. There are many stories where this would bother me, but not here. Since her life has been so sheltered by necessity, he is the first friend her own age she's ever had. Her life changes very little from day to day, so waiting to wave hello to him is the only enjoyment she gets every day.

You know that phrase people use about The Fault in Our Stars? It's a book about cancer, but it's not a cancer book? Long term illness might be a plot point, and a major one, in this book, but it's not a long term illness book. It's primarily a romance, really. Everyone who enjoys romances, especially those with a slightly different plot then just boy-meets-girl will enjoy this one, I feel.

I think I'm going to have to put the rest under a cut, here, because I have some more spoilery things to say about the events in this book.

So, do you agree with Madeline's decision to run away? Should we try and experience as much of life as we can, or keep ourselves safe?  Having never been in her sort of situation, I don't feel like I can accurately answer that question. But no matter what side of the argument you fall on, you will at least sympathise with her decision to do what she did. The trouble arises for me in how she did it - with a credit card she took out in her mother's name, lying to Olly so he'd come with her and not worry.

HOLY CRAP that twist. Did you see that coming? I didn't see that coming. It is so rare that a twist actually surprises me anymore. I think part of it is because you don't expect a twist like that in this sort of book, to the point where knowing a twist is coming would count as a spoiler, in the way that it would tip you off that something was suspicious. But the best thing is with this twist, you can look back and see where the hints were dropped earlier.

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