I had the chance to listen to Nicola Yoon speak at a book event back in mid-September, shortly after the release of Everything, Everything. I had seen reviews on it, and listened as people described the book as being like John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’. To me, that was the ultimate turn off. While I read and appreciated the book, I’m nowhere near ready to go through the emotional turmoil of that book again. Perhaps it was the timing of reading it, perhaps it was something else. I have cried at books since that one, but I’ve been able to read in the same genre.
I haven’t been able to read Sick-Lit since John Green decided to collectively tear our hearts out, and stomp on them.
Until Everything, Everything.
When Nicola Yoon spoke about the book, she started it off by taking about her daughter. Penny is 3 now, and for a while, Nicola was terrified of anything happening to her. What happens if she eats dirt? What happens if she gets stung by a bee? The possibilities were endless of what might happen, and how could she deal with them? It’s a statement I’ve heard from many new parents. How do you cope with your child when they get sick or injured?
In this instance, Nicola Yoon wrote a book about it.
We meet Madeline when she is 17-years-old and she suffers from SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), and the only people she’s ever been able to have contact with, are her mother, and her personal nurse Carla. Madeline has been content with her life, taking classes online and having tutors Skype with her to get the best education possible.
Until a new family moves in next door.
Olly becomes a beacon of light in Madeline’s life, pushing her to evaluate how complacent she has become, and how she has let her illness define her limits. The story unfolds much how you would expect, until 3/4 of the way through when the author drops a plot twist so unexpected, you can’t help but be completely floored.