Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Number of times Everything, Everything mentioned The Little Prince: eight
Number of times Everything, Everything made me cry: four
Number of times Everything, Everything mentioned the state fish of Hawaii (Humuhumunukunukuapua`a): I forgot to count but probably between three and five
I realize the first and third points aren't really relevant to someone who isn't me (and that third one isn't a High School Musical reference before you go there) but the point is that this even though this a book about a girl who spent eighteen years in the confines of her house, you still find ways to relate with her through the voice Nicola Yoon gives her. For me, it was her favorite book being mine as well and a memory of an old interactive map that my brother and I broke by pressing the Hawaii button over and over. For someone else, it might be the fact that she hates math or loves outer space or only owns white t-shirts and Keds or is half Japanese and half African American. (I think this is the point I was trying to make, I was also mostly just excited about all the references to The Little Prince y'all don't know how much I love that book I even have a pop-up edition of it shoutout to my best friend Anika for that)
Moving on, I absolutely loved loved loved the structure of this book. Before we get into that, I'll just give a little background on the book: Madeleine is living with SCID, a rare disease that affects her immune system so severely that she needs a constantly sterile environment, hence the whole never having left her house thing. She's been pretty well-adjusted with it, but when a boy her age moves in next door and they become friends through email and instant messaging, that tiny bit of change serves as a catalyst for a lot more change.
So, back to structure. Interspersed among the pages of "normal" writing -- you know, the whole "paragraph format, first person narration, dialogue in quotes and separate indented paragraphs" thing -- were breaks in the traditional format for more "fun" things that added to the story -- conversations that happened on an instant messenger, pages from Madeleine's notebooks showing things like a "pre-kiss checklist," a map of despair, a guide to Hawaiian reef fish. Even some of the pages of the book that were traditionally formatted were told in a way that added breaks in the reading because an entire "chapter" would just be one line, or one short conversation, or one paragraph. Sometimes, they were short, one line, spoiler reviews of books, which she had an entire blog dedicated to, and we caught glimpses of. I just want to share two of my favorite ones because they were also two lines I really liked in the book (especially because one of them is that line that has the title that makes you go hey look its the title but also it's my favorite book so double props):
"LIFE IS SHORT: SPOILER REVIEWS BY MADELEINE
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Spoiler alert: You don't exist if no one can see you."
"LIFE IS SHORT: SPOILER REVIEWS BY MADELEINEI feel like this book was just full of heartbreaking or gut-wrenching one-liners (and not the comedic kind). I mean, the writing throughout the book was beautiful as well, and for a first book, I think Nicola Yoon did a fantastic job, but what really got me were certain lines that just jumped off the pages. I thought about integrating them into this review somehow but I'm just going to go ahead and show you some that I liked a lot (by the way, the copy I have is an ARC I got at BEA, so these quotes may have been subject to change in the finished product):
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything."
"Her pain is endless. It falls off the ends of the world. Her pain is a dead sea. Her pain is for me, but I cannot bear it anymore."
"My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in."
"Olly's math says you can't predict the future. It turns out you can't predict the past either."Speaking of Olly (well I didn't speak of him, but that last quote did) I haven't even mentioned anything about how much I love the story itself. Because I do. Seriously. This was honestly one of the best books I've read in a really long time and it stayed with me for so long after I put it down. The book had like four main characters and even then, two of them were kinda subtly main but they were so intriguing. I was afraid Madeleine and Olly were going to be instalove because the back cover is kindof misleading and it takes two paragraphs that happen in different places in the book and make it look like one passage, but I loved them. I loved Carla, Madeleine's full-time nurse, and out of the four times I cried, I'm pretty sure two were for her, so there's that. And Madeleine's mother just put me through a whole slew of emotions and I always just felt bad for her but honestly she was very well written.
I honestly devoured this book and I was so invested in seeing where Madeleine's life was going to go. I know the ending will probably have a 50/50 response but I enjoyed it. There were consequences to face while exploring the ways trauma can affect a person and nothing was played off as the character in question having ill intentions or being malicious -- which would have resulted in too cartoonish of a villain figure -- but rather being in need of help and facing a mental illness. (Sorry for how inarticulate that was, I was trying to be vague but still give you the gist of it.)
Overall, it was a really sweet, emotional book and Nicola Yoon expertly managed to capture the voice of a teenager who wants more than her lot in life.
Can you give us a one sentence spoiler review?
Let us know in the comments!
Let us know in the comments!