My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Song For This Book: Stop in the Name of Love by the Supremes
Why? This book is so focused on love and whether you’re living if you don’t have love that it seemed to fit.
I wanted to read this book because it had been on my radar for a while, and with the movie coming out soon, I didn’t want to end up being spoiled before I’d had the chance to check it out myself. So when I finished up my last review read, I picked this one up, and flew through it in two days.
Having now finished the book, I can see both why it is as popular as it is, and why it is as criticized as it is. It’s a fun, easy, feel good read that feels freakishly similar to John Green’s A Fault in Our Stars, but there are also some issues with it. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to talk about in this review regarding the issues I had with this book without turning this into a super spoiler-y review, but we’ll give it a go.
The Good Points of Everything, Everything:
This is one of those books that is fun to read. The writing is done in such a way that it is enjoyable as it enters your optic nerve and gets translated into information in your brain. And all the graphics and diagrams just serve to enhance the experience. It’s a very visually appealing book overall.
I did like the characters in the book. Madeline is a sweetheart, Olly’s adorable, and all the grown ups are wonderful. I’m particularly in love with Madeline’s mother, because she was such a fascinating thing throughout this book.
I love how the diversity that is included in the book is acknowledged and talked about, but it’s not one of those ‘LOOK AT HOW AWESOMELY DIVERSE THIS BOOK IS, I PUT IN EXTRA EFFORT TO MAKE IT DIVERSE’ sorts of things. It’s just there, just like diversity is just there is real life. Which is how we should be doing diversity in books.
The author also doesn’t shy away from some serious subject matter, such as abuse and health issues, and doesn’t make them feel toned down either. It’s a really good balance with how light some other parts of the book are, and it’s great.
The Downsides of Everything, Everything:
There are some things that just didn’t make sense in this book. At various points, the process of coming in or going out of Madeline’s airlock is complicated and extremely simple, which doesn’t make sense to me.
What was the deal with the white everything? White clothes, white walls, white food… Maybe it was symbolic or something, but it just seemed weird to me.
Maybe this is just because I work in healthcare and have training in how to deal with allergies and infectious diseases and stuff like that, but I totally saw the ending coming. You can go check out my twitter, and see that I wasn’t far off my 50-pages-in-guess.
I didn’t like the idea of ‘life is only worth living if you are living, and by living, I mean taking huge risks and defying every rule put in place to keep you alive’ that was prominent in this book. I’m not telling anyone else how to think, and I realize that we all have our own definitions of living. But I do think there’s something to be said for not dying before you have to/want to, as well. I’ve got a lot of incoherent thoughts on this, so I’ll leave it here. It reminds me a lot of the Me Before You issues.
I felt like the ending should have been a bigger issues. I won’t spoil, but that’s a big deal, and it felt very glossed over. But I do suppose it fits with the rest of the book.
All in all, a fun little read, but with some weird stuff going on within it. I do think it’s worth a read, and I’ll definitely be checking out the movie, but you should go into it knowing that there are a lot of conflicted opinions on this particular book.
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