Literary Minute – Everything, Everything

“I read once that, on average, we replace the majority of our cells every seven years. Even more amazing: we change the upper layers of our skin every two weeks. If all the cells in our body did this, we’d be immortal. But some of our cells, like the ones in our brains, don’t renew. They age, and age us. In two weeks my skin will have no memory of Olly’s hand on mine, but my brain will remember. We can have immortality or the memory of touch. But we can’t have both.” –  Nicola Yoon


Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon was an elegant yet quirky take on romantic young adult literature. The novel pair’s drawings, lists, charts and dialogue in a way that lets the reader into the unique perspectives of Madeline, a young woman who suffers from a rare disease called SCID or “bubble baby disease” and explores the love she discovers despite her sickness.

Madeline lives with her mother in a sealed-off and sterilized house, her nurse Carla being her only form of friendship for most of her 18 years. Having known nothing else, Madeline has accepted her calm life of reading books, taking online classes, and playing games with her mom. However, her calm uneventful life slowly starts to unravel and change into something beautifully new to her with fresh experiences blossoming before her as she gets to know Olly, the boy who lives next door.  For the first time, Madeline questions the safe but rigid life her mother has settled her in and longs to see and feel things like the ocean tickling her legs or grass beneath her feet. Risking everything, she runs away with Olly, who has his own dark past he attempts to escape, and they find a perfect harmony before everything comes crashing down into reality.

Nicola Yoon delivers a different perspective to the typical “coming of age” young adult novella. She crosses the lines and blurs the expected. I really enjoyed this book, it fed my romantic heart and left me feeling light and hopeful. Yoon’s voice in “Everything, Everything” will stay with me long after, which is the perfect ending to a good book in my opinion.



“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

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