Review: Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

Review: Everything, Everything – Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1st 2015
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five-stars

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.

Review

I was super excited for this debut book by Nicola Yoon. I mean first would you look at that cover??? BEAUTIFUL! And I know, it is shallow to want to read a book based on the cover, but that is honestly what pulled me in. And then I read what the book was about and I was hooked. Can’t go outside? That is a life I can’t imagine. And then I read the book. Holy awesome batman. I was blown completely away. Not just by the writing, which was perfect, but the why the story was told. It was fantastic.

Everything, Everything is about Madeline, a girl that has been stuck inside her house for over a decade thanks to a disease that leave her allergic to the world. With her mother and her nurse Carla as her only real contact Madeline is always the girl on the inside looking out. That is until new neighbors move in. Soon Madeline is finding herself obsessed with Olly, the son next door. She watches his every move and then one day he notices and the start up a friendship that is about to change Madeline’s world forever.

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I was intrigued from the start by this story. The writing, the plot, the pacing, everything just worked and it worked really really well. I loved how the story unfolded through a variety of different styles. From pictures to emails to text messages to dialog. It all worked and made the story even more beautiful than it was. Honestly I was so wrapped up in all of that I didn’t see something coming that I normally would have which made the book even better for me.

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This is a tough on because the book is mostly in one single house. Actually in the long run that worked really well because much like Madeline it was easy to feel trapped in a place and not have the ability to see something else, to have a new setting, a new background. Seeing how Madeline had to watch Olly from her window or computer screen and not be a part of his life just added to the story.

characters

Hands down, Madeline and Olly are what made Everything, Everything well…everything. There was such an ease to the two of them. Like they just fit and they never really even questioned why this was. They belonged in each other’s lives and it was as simple as that. They were also both going through things, hard things, and it was nice that they had each other to lean on. I also really loved Carla the nurse. She was a great adult figure in this book that helped keep Madeline young. And I felt really bad for Madeline’s mother. As a whole this cast of character was perfect.

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In the end Everything, Everything was simply, amazingly gorgeous. It was one of those books that is pretty quiet in terms of story, but it is supposed to be. It keeps you interested with its beauty and narrative. And the characters keep making you want to know more, to be friends with these people, to find out more about them. I truthfully can’t do this book justice with my words. I’ve tried and it isn’t worth it. All I can tell you is that you need to read it. You will not be disappointed. That I can promise you.

 

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Second Chance Sunday – Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

juliet

Title: Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal Series) [Amazon]
Author: Stacey Jay [website]
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Retelling
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

My Thoughts:
I don’t even know where to begin other than saying I loved, loved, loved this book! I know, eloquent right?! HA. But really, here’s the thing. I almost never read this book. And now your thinking I’m crazy. Well you see, I am not one for reading paranormalish books. I’ve done a couple and rally enjoyed them, but they aren’t my thing. In discussing this with a friend she said I was missing out on some great stuff. So being the trusting person I am I gave her free reign to pick a book I wouldn’t normally pick, and Juliet Immortal was one of her 3 picks for me. And now I must, with egg in my face, say a very heartfelt thank you to her because this book was flipping fantastic! It was one of those fantastical books that you want to take your time with yet you don’t want to put it down and the fact that I almost missed out breaks my heart.

Juliet Immortal is the story of well, Juliet, yes, that Juliet. But it isn’t the same old story you are used to. You see, this Juliet is dead, but she dead at the hands of Romeo. He made a deal in those ole Verona days that granted him immortality if only he would do dear Juliet in. What Romeo never considered was that there may be a deal on the table for Juliet as well. Now 300 centuries later these once star crossed lovers are battling on opposing sides in bodies that aren’t theirs. Juliet is sent to earth to protect the live of soul mates and to make sure their bond holds strong while Romeo is sent to destroy the powers of love. It has been this way for years, that is until Juliet is sent into the body of Ariel and everything changes. Not only does Juliet have a job to do, but she has a soul to heal, and it isn’t just Ariel’s soul that needs healing. Soon both Romeo and Juliet have to make choices that neither want to make, but sometimes making choices is the only way to live.

I know, amazing right?! Trust me when I tell you that not only is this story pure awesomeness, there is a ton more to it then I just described. The writing is stunning. It really is filled with some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read and I don’t throw that our there lightly. I absolutely loved every character in the story even the annoying ones and that is a testament to Ms. Jay. You could tell that everything she did was well thought out and served a purpose. Nothing was predictable, okay, maybe one thing ones, but this is my gush review so I’m ignoring that.

Anyway, this book basically took an old familiar classic and made into something I could have never dreamed to love as much as I did. Just do me a favor, take a chance and read it. You won’t be disappointed, I can almost guarantee it.

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Second Chance Sunday – The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro

Today’s Second Chance Sunday, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, was just a fun cute read and is perfect for summer. This was originally posted here.

Second Chance Sunday – The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina FerraroThe ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
Published by Delacorte Press
Published: 2009-01
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three-stars

Parker Stanhope has played soccer practically since she could walk. And now that she’s a high school junior, everything she’s worked for is finally coming together. She’s paid her dues on the field, and as an upperclassman, she’s a shoo-in for the varsity team. But that’s not what happens.

This year, Coach Hartley moved up every JV player but two—and one of those two was Parker. Now, she’s stuck with the freshmen, her friends are cutting her loose, and her love of the game is seriously beginning to fail. But Parker is determined to get her life back. She has to get on the varsity team, and she has the perfect plan. All she needs now is the right kind of coach.

thoughts
First off, I must admit that I have a weakness for adorable kisses in books. There is something that just makes me melt when reading about them. So it is no surprise that I was a pile of goo for most of this one. Because let me just tell you that The ABC’s of Kissing Boys is chock full of adorable kissing cuteness. Some books make you crave cupcakes or Slurpee’s or Cheetos but this book makes you crave something better! Making-out, hahah. From start to finish the joy of kissing is a prominent theme and I can’t say I minded one bit.

The ABC’s of Kissing Boys is about Parker and her desire to get back on her school’s JV soccer team. As a junior, Parker should have been a member of the Varsity team; she dreamed of it, hoped for it, willed it. But when she finds herself stuck on JV at the beginning of the year with all the lowly freshman and with all of her Varsity friends shunning her she makes a plan to get her spot back on the team and with her friends. All she needs is some help in kissing to make her plans work.

Enter next door neighbor Tristan, a cute freshman that seems to know about all things kissing. With a new deal set the two start on a journey that teaches Parker that it is more important to be liked then it is to be popular.

As far as characterization was concerned there were times I really liked Parker and other times I found her immature and childish. I mean I could see where she was coming from…her world was turned upside down by not making Varsity, but how she treated Tristan at times just wasn’t cool. She looked down on him because of his grade level and treated him like dirt when he was just trying to help her and give her what she wanted. She was jealous and selfish when it came to him but she refused to admit that she may actually like him. Then on the other hand when it was just the two of them alone together they were beyond adorable and in a lot of ways he acted like he was the one that was 364 days older while Parker was the freshman. Tristan’s maturity was a direct result of something Parker didn’t have, the ability to not care what people thought.

And that right there was Parker’s whole problem. She cared that people thought she was dating a baby. She cared that people looked down on her since she didn’t make Varsity. She cared that her obnoxious (don’t even get me started on my dislike of the mean girls) ‘friends’ would only talk to her if she was the exact same person as they were. When in reality Parker had it made. She was running the JV team, people looked up to her, she had an adorable boy on her side no matter what, and ultimately a former friend that was willing to take her back. She had all that matters and just needed to figure out for herself that she had it so good.

She learned that being popular isn’t the same as being likable.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. It was my first foray into a Tina Ferraro story and I don’t think it will be my last. It was a fun, quick read with a great message at the end. Pick it up and see if you’ll be swayed like I was.

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