My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Actual Rating: 1.5
I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time, but I think I was disappointed with how it turned out, although there were things I did like. (I gave this a one star at first, but decided to bump it up instead.)
Everything, Everything follows Madeline Whittier, who has SCID. That means she’s “allergic to the world” and basically never leaves her house, because she could die. But when a cute boy moves in next door, she finds herself realizing just how much she’s missing in life and she becomes determined to change that.
The most unique thing about this book is that it is not only written in words. There are drawings, notes, charts, and I felt like it really added to the enjoyability and the experience. It’s creative and imaginative, just like the writing style, and I really do respect that.
But then, the characters. Am I the only one who thought that Madeline was overly dramatic and annoying?
She and Ollie were a case of insta-love, which I’ve already been kind of “ugh” about (not to mention the fact that she runs away from home for a boy she just met), but then she gets “scared” of her feelings and tells him to stop talking to her. Twice.
The first time, ugh.
The second time? U G H.
Now, being afraid of your feelings for someone is not a new idea in literature. But the way she was so cruel to him about it – and then complained and whined endlessly about her broken heart – just annoyed me to no end.
Madeline: No more IM. No more e-mail. It’s too hard. I can’t go back. My mom was right. Life was better before.
Olly: better for who?
Olly: don’t do this Maddy
Olly: my life is better with you in it
Madeline: but mine isn’t
[Madeline has logged out]
Then, a chapter about how much she missed him. A drawing of her heart as a map of despair. A picture of her deleting her emails with Olly. Another few pages about her broken heart, including:
My heart is too bruised and I want to keep the pain as a reminder. I don’t want sunlight on it. I don’t want it to heal. Because if it does, I might be tempted to use it again.
Basically more sad Madeline. But lo and behold! He loves her too much to let her go and starts emailing her again.
And then the plot twist. And then – voila! Olly and Madeline can be together and all is well!
Sigh. Speaking of the plot twist, I just didn’t think it was very twisty. There were lots of hints throughout the entire book, and by the time I got past the twist, I was already so tired of Madeline’s disbelief and her “woe is me” attitude.
Of course there’s some mistake. Of course this is not right.
The world is casually cruel.
And okay, the plot twist. Looking at the story from a plot-based perspective, it did kind of diminish the importance of the story and turn it into any other YA novel.
SPOILER WARNING! (If you don’t want spoilers, skip this section.)
Here is the plot twist: Madeline is not sick. Basically, what was thought to be a case of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency was actually a case of Munchausen by Proxy (aka her mom made it up because she was the one that was mentally ill). Although I already could tell that it was coming, I felt like Madeline’s SCID would have been what would make her unique and different from any other main character and relatable for people who were actually dealing with SCID. But suddenly, poof! She’s not sick! She’s just another teenager, the one who’s dealing with a troubled single parent, the one who can live a normal life, the one who could be with the boy she fell in love with at first sight.
END OF SPOILERS.
Anyways, that’s why I rated this book the way I did. There were so many things about this that I didn’t like, but what I do love is the writing style and the little drawings that not only made the story cute, but really made the story interesting and special.