Friday, March 25, 2016

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

Eighteen year-old Madeline has spent the vast majority of her life inside her hermetically-sealed house.  She's been diagnosed with a rare disease that makes her immune deficient.  Exposed to the outside world, she would probably die.  Inside and protected, her life is quiet but lonely.  She has forgone hope of having any significant connection with the outside.

But then a new family moves in next door and they have a boy her age.  Seeing him stirs curiosity and feelings that she didn't know where even present to be stirred.  And with some encouragement from her nurse, she reaches out to this stranger.  The results are unexpected and change her life in previously unimaginable ways.

Told in a surprisingly effective and complementary mixture of prose, verse, and artwork, the novel is a unique document.  And yet, it has so much more going for it.  The story is touching.  The characters are moving and enchanting.

The narrative is complex, even as the writing is simple.  Ostensibly, this is a story of a sick girl being coaxed out of her shell and discovering a bit more of the world.  But the story on the surface is only an analogy for the inner journey that Madeline undertakes and it deals with the more complicated feelings of first love, trust, and risk taking.  I was a bit disappointed by the plot twist towards the end that sent the story down to earth.  But I still found the overall experience lyrical and enchanting.  This is truly a gorgeous and special book!

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