What would you choose: simply existing, or truly living? Staying safe or risking your life for a once-in-a-lifetime romance? These are the life-altering choices that Madeline Whittier, an eighteen year old, is faced with in the novel, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. A coming-of-age, Rapunzel-esque story centered around a teenager making a choice that could change her life forever, this novel is relatable and inspiring for all teenagers as they are a demographic facing monumental decisions that will define the rest of their lives. However, Madeline is different than most teenagers in that she has been diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and has been forced to live inside a pristine white, air-filtered, sterile bubble for her own safety. But Yoon still manages to master the art of turning an otherwise unrelatable situation into one that teenagers can sympathize with through her skillful and realistic depiction of Madeline.
Madeline exists in her day-to-day world inside the confines of an aseptic area of her house and has never stepped outside in her eighteen years of life, except when she was an infant before her mother found out Madeline had SCID. When a new family moves in next door, Madeline is intrigued by the teenage boy named Olly whose bedroom window faces hers. They eventually become friends through Instant Messaging online, but soon the urge to see each other in person, to be in the same room, becomes overwhelming. Knowing her mother would never allow Olly in her house, Madeline and her personal nurse, Carla, arrange for them to meet in Madeline’s house while her mother is at work. Olly and Madeline’s friendship eventually morphs into more, leaving Madeline with a choice, whether or not to leave her house for a once-in-a-lifetime journey with the boy she is in love with or stay in her bubble alone for a lifetime. The path she chooses eventually leads her to an even larger discovery about herself and her life.
Everything, Everything has captivated readers all over the world, as evidenced by the adaptation of the novel to film in 2017. Yoon’s success with the popular novel stems from her ability to put a fresh, unique take on a classic plot. Anyone who has enjoyed novels by John Green, Rainbow Rowell, or Stephanie Perkins would likely enjoy Everything, Everything too. Purchase it on Amazon now.