This was a peer pressure read. While browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble, I couldn't help but stop at a table labeled something along the lines of, "Books Teens Should Read". Normally I would ignore that proclamation and move on with my browsing, but I saw on that table a book which I had repeatedly heard the name of in recent weeks. So, using the money that was hard-earned from my work at the on-campus library, I decided to finally buy the book which I had heard so much about.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
What Made Me Read This Book? Curiosity. The cover design (which my photo does little justice for) is pretty eye-catching. The boldness of the solid blue contrasted with the bright colors of the wording and art right below it. Its a pretty novel. Also, I knew that a movie-adaption for the book was in the works staring Amandla Stenberg and seeing as how I view her as one of the wisest voices of my generation, I thought - why not read the book so I can see the movie and support the culture?
Maddy is the female equivalent of Bubble Boy. She is Bubble Girl. Born with an immune illness that has rendered her house ridden and robbed her of the freedom of going outside, she has lived the past 18 years of her life dealing with a harsh health sentence. Only seeing the world through the window. That is, until a new family moves in next door and everything is turned upside down and inside out. Now, torn between staying inside to please her health and her mother or leaving her home to finally be face-to-face with the boy that she loves, Maddy is tasked with the hardest decision of her life. A decision that places Maddy's everything on the line.
My Rating: ✯✯✯.8 - While I can look back and say that I do not regret reading this book, I will admit that I did have a few issues with this read.
Why? First, a positive - the lead character is a person of color. Maddy is half-Japanese and half-African-American. This may in part be due to the fact that the author, a woman of Jamaican descent, is married to a man of Asian descent. To me, it doesn't really matter how the Maddy's ethnic origins came about, I'm just happy that she is ethnic. Reading about the small things like her hair struggles and the sometimes difficulty of finding clothing to match her complexion were re-lateable and refreshing.
Second, a negative - the love story. Now, while I may have cynical tendencies when it comes to love, I am not an absolute cynic. But, I do think that it's a little far-fetched for someone to risk their life just to meet with a person that they honestly and truly barely know. A few text message and email exchanges equate to risking sudden death - that is a little unrealistic to me. Yes, while the love plot did push the story and the following chain of events further, I still didn't completely buy the "prince charming" or "white knight savoir" agenda. But in this YA world, teen love makes money, so I can't fault the author. And, admittedly, she did do an overall good job of writing a love story to make young hearts and romantics alike swoon.
Aside from plot relations, I loved the layout of the book. The brief chapters which sometimes entirely skipped words and only included pictures. Up-to-date references and all-around cute moments. Words re-described and given new definitions by the main character to further show her personality and feelings at certain points in the story. <--That I especially liked. Rather than Maddy saying, "I'm sad" or something else bland, she re-worked the dictionary to give her emotions new, more fitting descriptors. Nicola Yoon definitely has a... very unique writing style. One which kept me engaged in the story while also keeping my attention present with quick side-note blurbs to keep me alert and on my toes throughout the novel. Which really came in handy towards the end.
Favorite Quote: "Life is a gift. Don't forget to live it."
Hint for next week: New York is a place full of possibilities if one would only take the time to look