Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This book is a major motion picture which I haven't seen yet. I always like to read the book first. This is Nicola Yoon's first publication, and I must say, she did well! Author's first books are usually not great, with the exception of Grisham's A Time to Kill. But... I digress.
Everything, Everything is about Madeline, an 18 year old girl who has spent the last 17 years living inside due to a diagnosis of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease, or SCID. Think "boy in the bubble" disease. Madeline lives with her mother. Her father and brother were killed in an accident when she was a few months old. Shortly afterward, she was diagnosed with her disease. She, her mom, and nurse Carla have as much fun as possible for someone who can't go outside for fear of death. Madeline does school online through private tutors, they play games, and she spends a lot of time reading.
One day, a family moves in next door. When she first lays eyes on Oliver, she knows that her life will never be the same. She will risk her life, which she finds out isn't really living, only surviving, to be able to truly live. And she will finally find out how here disease was diagnosed.
This book had a little more romance than I usually read, but overlooking that, it was a great story. The characters were well-developed and believable, for the most part. There were a few things that didn't seem to fit, but they were likeable characters which makes a huge difference. The themes presented were pretty deep, so I wouldn't classify this as just a young adult book. I think most adults would like it, too. The storyline was believable up to a point, but isn't that what books are for? Escape?
Something that bothers me a little about current young adult authors is that they try too hard to make their characters diverse. Instead of happening organically, it seems contrived, whether it's multi-racial characters or characters of color, characters with gender identity issues (not this book), characters who are atypical. I have no problem with this if it is important to the story, but Yoon said herself, she wanted to make it clear that her characters were of diverse backgrounds. I don't think it added anything to the story. The characters could have been of any race, and the story would have been the same. It seemed too obvious. I'd rather use my own inferencing skills to figure out how a character looks and behaves rather than being told. Just my little rant.
Everything, Everything was better than I thought it would be, having been given to me by a student, and I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to watch the movie.
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