Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: Everything, Everything

Imagine if you never went out of your house.  Ever.  Maddy has not stepped a foot of her front door since she was a baby.  She is allergic to the outside world, and any little thing could kill her--chemicals from a cleaning solution, someone’s perfume, certain plants, or the wrong laundry detergent.  Her house has a special filtering system, and anyone who enters must go through a special head-to-toe cleansing.  Maddy’s world consists of her mother, a nurse, an occasional tutor, and a limited amount of online communication.  But everything changes when a new family moves in door, and a boy Maddy’s age catches her attention.  She dares to wonder if her life could be different.  What would she give up for a chance to really live?

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon, is a fascinating look at the life of a girl who is sheltered from the outside world, and believes that she must accept her fate, or die.  The characters are well-developed, and grab you into the story.  The author’s use of illustrations, diary entries, and notebook doodles from the point of view of someone with too much time on their hands also adds a lot to the book.  You wonder what life would be like in her shoes...and then everything is thrown on its head with a great twist at the end.  If you have students who enjoy John Green, Jodi Picoult, or the book Room, they will love Everything, Everything.