* I received this ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review *
"This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
'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.'"
Rainbow Rowell once mentioned that she wrote Eleanor & Park because she wanted to create a story where the reader feels like they are falling in love. She wanted to write a story about possibilities and beginnings because when you are young you can believe with everything you have that things don't just end.
I felt like I was falling in love when I read Eleanor & Park, and I didn't know if I would ever feel that way about a book again.
Then I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
And as I sit here writing this review, trying to hold back tears while my heart pounds, I can only think one thing:
If every book read like Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything we would never have to worry about teenagers not wanting to read again.
So many books try to fill a reader up with painful, lengthy exposition that forces the reader to claw their way up a silky-smooth surface.
But we don't live our lives in exposition. We live our lives in texts and chatrooms and photographs and emails. We live our lives in conversation and breathlessness and movie ticket stubs and illustrations and beautiful little moments.
And sometimes we live our lives in books.
Olly and Maddy's story reminded me of my first moments with John. The moments before I fell in love with him. There was never enough time together, and I wanted all these minutes with him. I wanted to watch him do everything. I wanted to watch him laugh and smile silently at me when he thought I wasn't looking. I wanted to see the way he fell asleep.
I wanted all of those things for Maddy. I wanted Olly to touch her, and I understood how she felt when Olly called her 'Mads'. It feels like no one has ever said your name before, and I was breathless each time he made her laugh.
There is something special about a writer who understands that an illustration of an email can show so much more than some words ever could.
There is just something so special about a writer who understands what it's like to be a reader.
And sometimes there are just not enough words to describe the way you feel about a book.
Sometimes only happy tears and heart-pounding are all that you have to give. And that's enough.