Friday 9 October 2015

Clare Reviews: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, EverythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Series: No
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.5/5
Blurb: Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?
Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

"Not that I begrudge my life in books. All I know about the world I've learned from them. But a description of a tree is not a tree, and a thousand paper kisses will never equal the feel of Olly's lips against mine."

I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I think I expected to be more emotional about it. I think my main problem was that I knew, or rather suspected, from the start how it was going to end. And for a book about the tragedy of Madeline being trapped inside and a romance that depended on the doomed nature of their love that kind of ruined it for me.

I did like Madeline, and I liked Olly. I even liked them together for the most part. But there was a bit of insta-love which I did not like so much! Maddy looked out of the window, saw Olly and fell almost instantly for him. And he basically did the same in reverse. I loved the way they communicated at the beginning, his funny antics were great and their IM conversations were a lot of fun to read (although I genuinely don't know anyone who uses IM). The truth is Olly was something of a reverse manic pixie-dream girl. He existed almost purely to break Maddy out of her meaningless life and into a world where she could really live. I never got a real sense of him; I liked him but didn't really know him. Both Maddy and Olly felt younger than they really were at times. Which could be understandable with Maddy since she has never had any real world interaction or the chance to go through the whole growing up process. But I felt, with Olly, it just felt a bit off. He felt way younger than he really was. Maddy grew up throughout the book and I started to see her as an adult but still saw him as a school kid. Which added a layer of awkwardness I really didn't want.

Carla was a good side character but I felt like the other side characters were fairly under used. I understand that Maddy couldn't exactly meet a lot of people, but Olly's sister could have been an interesting character and wasn't used, and Olly's friend Zachariah popped up out of nowhere and then disappeared again - and again, he could have been a great character. If this had been a longer book perhaps that could have been more explored. But, on the positive side, done as it was we experienced the world the way Maddy did, with a very small cast of characters and an occasional window view of the others, which may have been the point. I would have liked more interaction once she started to break free though.

I really liked the format of the book, I have already mentioned the IM conversations but there were also diagrams and "spoiler book reviews" which were brilliant and, for me, the real highlight of the book. We got quite a lot of Madeline's personality from these, some of her sarcasm and ability to make a joke out of her condition. And we also got a more fun, interesting glimpse of Olly through his messages to her. Unfortunately when they were talking in person rather than online or through a window their conversations weren't nearly as compelling. 

I've said already I saw the ending coming and it makes sense with the characters. It makes less sense if you actually start to think about the practicalities of it but if you're willing to just go with it you should be fine. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, I liked that it provided a resolution of sorts but I didn't like how incredibly convenient it was. And it also made me feel even more sorry for Maddy. I also would have liked more resolution. I don't know if this is just me, but when I read a story with romance in it, I like a complete resolution, all wrapped up. Preferably with an epilogue. This felt more rushed and way, way too easy.

Overall I did mostly enjoy this book, it started to unravel once we hit the insta-love portion of the story but the writing was very beautiful and I loved the uniqueness of all the drawings and extra bits. I will definitely be interested to see what Nicola Yoon writes next.

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