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☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2 STARS
Before we start with the review, just a little warning. It’s long. I rant a lot. Read only the top and middle sections if you want to avoid the ranting. But really… why would you want to miss all of the good bits??
I went in to this book completely aware of the spoilers and I think this ruined the book for me, in some essence. On the other hand there were quite a few issues that I had with Everything, Everything that wouldn’t have redeemed its rating, even if I hadn’t been aware of the surprise ending. While I’m aware this sounds SUPER VAGUE… I hate spoilers and don’t want to inadvertently give too much away for those of you who haven’t read/or watched this!
Everything, Everything follows the lives of Maddy and the boy next door, Olly. Maddy’s chronic illness with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) means that she has not been able to leave her house in seventeen years. When Olly moves in next door, things begin to change in Maddy’s previously structured life. Their budding friendship, with the hope for MORE, sparks a new joy that Maddy hasn’t experienced since she was a child. In a reckless effort to escape the monotony of her daily existence Maddy embarks on an exciting, yet dangerous adventure with Olly in the hope to LIVE and not only EXIST.
MADDY – A bookworm (YES!) who has experienced a great deal during her short life. The limitations that SCID place upon her life are extensive. Most people would have difficulty with the monotony and restrictive elements involved with this lifestyle but Maddy takes it all in stride. She’s considerate, kind and intelligent with a flare for subdued creativity. That is, until she meets Olly. Suddenly, the restrictions begin to feel like a cage and her life more like an existence rather than actually LIVING.
OLLY – Is compassionate, mysterious, athletic and loyal. The story provided a wealth of background on Olly’s family circumstances and the issues associated with them however, we didn’t learn a lot about Olly himself. I know his hobbies and his loyalty but other than that there wasn’t a lot of development for him as a character.
CARLA – Was my FAVOURITE character in the book. She was quietly rebellious, innately kind and incredibly supportive. She made Maddy’s life just that LITTLE BIT more bearable and I couldn’t help but adore her for it.
While this book had decent pacing and was easy to read (I read it in one sitting) I did have quite a few issues with it overall. The first being, the pacing near the ending needed A LOT of work, in my opinion. Considering the bomb shell that was dropped I thought that there should have been at least an extra twenty pages added on to really deal with the issue. Quite frankly, I would have preferred to see this happen in the middle of the book with the second half spent exploring the emotional, medical and LEGAL implications associated with it. When something that big happens so close to an ending, I expect a bittersweet finale. Things this big don’t get solved overnight, not even slightly, and the book seemed to just roll with the punches and move on like NOTHING had happened.
Without trying to give away spoilers, the chronic illness and medical aspects in this book didn’t seem to be believable or realistic at all. A young woman with an illness like this would be seeing a host of medical professionals on a very regular basis. Instead, Maddy was primarily treated by her mother. This strikes me as strange as I’m pretty sure it’s against the Code of Ethics. At least in any situation that isn’t an emergency life or death situation.
Lastly, I felt like this story didn’t have enough substance. I was expecting a deeply emotional story that really went in depth into Maddy’s mental health and the long-term implications of someone living with SCID. Rather, it felt like this book only provided a small insight into her daily classes/medical observations with Maddy’s mental health being ‘fine’ until she fell in love with a boy.
I just can’t seem to… believe this. I don’t suffer the same restrictions or limitations in life, not even slightly, and yet I struggle with contemplating the future. With my mental health. I understand that not everyone may struggle with these issues but a great majority of the population do. I would have liked to have seen something more in this area. Without it, the story just seemed to state that as long as you weren’t in love you didn’t have anything worthwhile to live for, therefore you didn’t really miss anything and would be happy to just plod along monotonously. Uhhh… no. Just no.
Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and easy read this is for you. It’s why I’ve rated it as I have. If you’re after something gritty and emotional then unfortunately I think you’re in the wrong place.
// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //