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Book Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

I think some of the most exciting work happening in children’s literature is found in the Young Adult niche. A couple of my most favorite reads from the past year are young adult books. They are stories that dig deep into the human spirit. Plus, I love that they typically read a bit quicker than many books geared toward adults–perfect for summer days when you’ve got one eye on the kids in the pool and one eye devouring your book. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is just such a book.

Intended Audience of Everything Everything

Young Adult (high school, college, or even a 38-year-old)

Spoiler-Free Summary of Everything Everything

Madeline (Maddy) is one of those unique book characters you’ll remember forever, in large part due to her unusual circumstances. She is 100% home-bound because of a medical condition that prevents her from being able to be exposed to anything outside her air-filtered home. She’s now 18 and hasn’t left her house since she was a baby. She makes the best of her circumstances with a devoted nurse, attentive mother, an unyielding commitment to her studies, and shelf after shelf of great books. But then a friendship turned romance with a young man, Olly, who moves in across the street, makes her realize just how much she’s missing in the outside world.

What To Know in Advance of Everything Everything

  • This is a teenage love story and includes one sex scene. It’s handled very responsibly, and I would actually encourage my sons to read this in their teen years in part because of this scene. Olly repeatedly asks Maddy for her consent to move forward physically. They use protection and the necessity of this is discussed very openly between the two. They are already in a mature, committed relationship before this scene. If you want to give it a review, it begins on page 222.
  • There are episodes of domestic violence in Olly’s home that Maddy witnesses and that Olly is forced to be a part of. Again, I appreciate the way the author includes open discussion between Maddy and Olly about his family’s problems, as we know one way to break cyclical violence like this is through communication and support from loved ones.

Why You Or Your Child Should Read Everything Everything

  • The plot twist in the last few chapters is reason enough to settle in for a wild ride. No spoilers but there are as many lessons for parents as there are for teens. It would make a great book to read at the same time for quality family discussion after.
  • Maddy’s unrelenting optimism (and how she handles darker moments) is inspirational, and her circumstances give anyone living a relatively healthy, normal life a giant dose of perspective.
  • One of the biggest reasons that Maddy and Olly are drawn to each other is because of their different academic interests. It demonstrates to teens that relationships can be based on more mature foundations and that enjoying reading and math CAN actually land you a girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Maddy has an African-American father and an Asian-American mother. Olly is caucasian. The author, Nicola Yoon, is Jamaican-American. We love books that not only have diverse characters, but come from diverse writers who can share their experiences in such an authentic way.

After You Read Everything Everything

    • Watch the movie! I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t speak to how closely it follows the book (and we know books are always better), but could be a fun way to celebrate reading it.

  • You can follow Nicola Yoon on Twitter @nicolayoon. She’s always sharing other great reads and books that her readers will enjoy, so it’s a wealth of recommendations for YA fans. She’s also active on Instagram at @nicolayoon.

More Books By Nicola Yoon

If you liked Everything Everything, try:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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