Everything Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything (Grades 7-12, Lexile HL610), the debut novel by Nicola Yoon, could be my favorite read of 2015. Here’s the basic plot: Maddy is a girl allergic to literally everything. She has SCID, an extremely rare autoimmune disorder that keeps her from ever leaving her house, which is equipped with an airlock. She lives with her mother and is content doing classes online in her second story bedroom. Content that is, until Olly moves next door in the bedroom facing hers and she begins to feel locked away, Rapunzel-like. What would it be like to have a friend? Or even a boyfriend?

The book has a multi-format structure as Maddy and Olly mostly communicate via Instant Messager. This is clever of Yoon, as it allows the teens to be believably eloquent as they agonize over what to write each other. Maddie, a book worm due to her cloistered existence, writes with wit beyond her years. It’s easy to imagine her expressing herself like a character in a book since books have been her primary peer relationships throughout her childhood, in particular The Little Prince, a poignant allusion which becomes clear at the book’s conclusion.

Like Romance and Heroism? You’ll Love Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this impressive book solely as a book about an improbable disease, it is so much more complex than that. It’s about taking chances, dealing with loss and finding your own way when adults fail you completely. Readers who enjoy romance, heroism and well-drawn characters in books like The Fault In Our Stars and Eleanor & Park will devour this book. Those sensitive to the “We Need Diverse Books” movement will be pleased to find another high quality book featuring a multiracial protagonist.

Fans of The Fault in Our Stars will like Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon      Fans of Eleanor and Park will like Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is recommended for fans of The Fault in Our Star and Eleanor and Park.

As a teacher, I’ve shared this book with several students who finished it quickly. It’s one of those additions to your classroom library that will rarely stay on the shelves. I’ve happened upon a few enthusiastic, “Did you get to the part where…?”—student-to-student discussions that let me know I’ve picked a winner. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is a strong novel teens and adults alike enjoy gushing over together.

Update: With the release of the Everything, Everything movie on May 19, 2017, now is a great time to read the book! Maybe suggest it to middle and high school students for independent reading or as summer reading title?