Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. 17-year-old Maddy can’t leave her house, ever, because she has SCIDs (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). Basically, if she goes outside, she could have a reaction to anything and die. The only people she sees are her mom and her nurse, Carla. Maddy has avoided looking out the window because she doesn’t want to hope like the last time she was 8, that she can form a connection with someone outside these walls, just to have them leave when she always is left behind.
When Olly moves in next door, Maddy knows she’s going to fall in love with him. But she also knows that there is no hope. She can’t meet him in real life. He will eventually move on without her. And how can you really have a friendship when you’re stuck in your house? The two start emailing and form a relationship. Then everything (everything) goes crazy. I don’t want to give it away. I love the internal dialogue that goes on with Maddy so we can see the changes in her outlook. I love the plot twists. Yes, there is more than one and yes they are wonderful. Maybe other people already guessed them, but I was still surprised with everything that happened. Another plus, Maddy is half Asian, half African American, so we have a multicultural main character and the book is not based on that issue (because it’s not an issue!).
This contemporary romance is character-driven, ability-diverse, and intricately plotted (not as much as a book like Cinder, but there’s only so much plot you can have in one room). Maddy is authentic, courageous, introspective and likeable. She is always trying to dissect her feelings and possible outcomes (like regular teen girls in love, plus her condition’s limits). She is very true to the book’s tagline, “The greatest risk is not taking one.” The tone of the book is like being on a roller coaster of hope. Some days Maddy has it, some days she doesn’t.
Some may think that the storyline is slow but I like it. I feel like it’s issue oriented as well as showing interior growth. And not all of the plot movement is character-based. There is action. But if you want an action-packed book, this is not it.