First sentence: “I’ve read many more books than you.”
You know what Everything Everything kind of remind me of? That Jake Gyllenhaal movie called Bubble Boy because he has no immune system and has to spend his life in a bubble. However, Everything Everything isn’t quite like Bubble Boy. Yeah, Madeline suffers an immune disease (severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)) where she is extremely vulnerable of contracting diseases, but she is confined to her very white house 24/7 and doesn’t get into the same shenanigans as Bubble Boy. Madeline is carefully watched by a nurse to make sure she doesn’t get sick, and is stuck in a routine, but it eventually changes when a new family moves in next door and Madeline sees Olly, the boy in all black. She starts pulling away from her mom for the chance to be normal. Now this is where I started groaning.
Everything Everything is heavily focused on romance. I knew that when I picked up the book, and I had been warned multiple times if I was sure I wanted to read this because this book screamed, “Cee will hate this,” and hate it I did. Well, hate is too strong of a word. I disliked it—a lot because of the romance. I spent 79% of the book making “ugh” and “blegh” sounds and going, “goddamn teenagers and their romances.” It’s not that I didn’t believe the romance, which I did because there are tons of teenager girls (past and present) that have experienced falling hard for a guy and doing the most outrageous things; I just don’t really like reading about it. Call me cynical or whatever. I don’t handle teenage romances that well because I find it fickle and cheesy, so of course the things that happened between Madeline and Olly were ridiculous and had me rolling my eyes because like really? No thanks.
For 17% of the book, I enjoyed it because of the well-written prose, the gorgeous illustrations, and the different narrative styles. In Everything Everything, you get emails, IM messages, schedules, wonderful doodles, Madeline’s dictionary definitions and the like. I loved it all because it was an unique way of presenting the narrative, and made me appreciate the storytelling. It’s clever and unconventional. The illustrations were a great addition to Madeline’s voice. I wanted more of this.
And the last 4%, I was absolutely livid because of how it was resolved. I will venture into vague spoiler tag city here:
Everything Everything may not have worked for me, but it may for you with its great unconventional narrative style and debatably-cute romance.
(I’ve always wondered why very sick people are always confined to white rooms. Is it because white represents that it’s sterilized? Educate me, friends!)