Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – Review and Trailer!

Happy belated Valentine’s Day, y’all! The internet gifted us the other night with the new trailer for Everything, Everything and I’m in love!

I didn’t plan for the trailer to be released at the same time I was finishing this book. Since that’s the way it goes, I’ve decided to post both my review of the book as well as the new trailer.

You have no idea how excited I am about this!!!

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Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

186924311My 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.

Rating: 5/5 humuhumunukunukuapua’as

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My thoughts

Before you say anything about this book and your level of interest, I need to say something. If you’re an adult or perceive yourself to be an adult, pull yourself out of your adult mind and get excited to read a piece of young adult fiction. Watch out, folks, because I’m about to sell you this book.

Everything, Everything has everything (duh) that I love about YA. Yes, the book is set in the narrator’s teenage years, but like almost all the YA books I’ve read there are some hard hitting themes. It has love in all shapes and forms, identity crisis, family issues, and personal growth. When I read YA, I don’t do it because the world is easier in a YA novel. I do it because the stories are relatable and if you’ve ever been a teenager, then you know exactly what kind of stories these are.

I originally picked this book because of a few reasons. First, I loved The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon as well. Second, the main character is a POC but it’s the kind of story you want to read about POC. On one hand, it’s really important to read about struggling with identity and race, but on the other hand, it’s really important that you see POC characters played out the same way white characters would in a book. Meaning, hey, they live ordinary lives just like everyone else.

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Finally, being in an inter-racial relationship myself, you get to understand more that love has no color. My boyfriend loves me because of who I am and not because I’m Asian or not white or any of those. The world needs to evolve itself to the point that you’re dating someone because of what’s on the inside. You’re friends with someone because you have things in common and we are basically all the same despite where we come from. We’re all human and that’s super important to remember and see and be comfortable with in real life.

But let’s get back to the book.

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Yes, it’s about love but it’s also about life. It’s about what you would do if you met someone truly sick and you wanted to be their friend. It’s about a mother who’s been struggling with letting go of her tragic past. It’s about a young man who is trying his best to be the best son, brother, and friend possible. It’s about a young woman opening herself up to the world as well as to the possibilities beyond the four walls of her little home. You can guffaw at the insta-love (I know I did), but here you feel the same way you felt the first time you had a crush. It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling you feel everyday when you’re in love.

You feel so many emotions. So so many of them! And now you’ll see those emotions on the silver screen. If you need convincing on whether or not you should read this book, I would recommend taking a peek at the video above. It’ll tell you everything you need to know. Everything.

 

Holding Up the Universe, bullies, and allies

I mentioned in my review of Holding Up the Universe that I would make some time to write about one of the major themes of the book; bullying. I didn’t want to bring it up in the review because I want to keep those thoughts and these thoughts separate. Also, I could probably write forever about bullies and allies.

With the recent elections and living in New York, the fight against bullying has heightened to a level I’ve never seen before. Constant discussion chatters on about being an ally and a friend to those who may be persecuted by the alt-right. It’s been a tough few weeks and there’s no knowing what the next four years will bring. We all need to be there for each other and weed out the bullies of our world and snuff them out (metaphorically, of course).

A friend of mine recently went out to drinks with a few of her coworkers saying farewell to someone who was leaving. At the party, a conversation about the bubble we all live in ensued. My friend put in her two cents on the topic only to be met with a hand in her face and “it’d be better if you weren’t a part of this conversation.”

As you can see, bullying doesn’t necessarily mean a physical blow. It sometimes can be as cruel as the words shaped by your mouth.

Stunned, my friend walked away from the conversation only to come back a few minutes later when she had her bearings. She simply laid out her feelings and how the comment and the gesture made her feel. She was being real with this person and he defended himself saying that this was just something he, his wife, and daughter do to each other. Sometimes people just get too comfortable with the people around them even if they don’t know them very well.

The shocking part was the people around her. She expressed how she felt like she was by herself, alone. She was surrounded by people who call her “friend,” but no one stood up for her or mentioned how rude the gesture was. Just shrugged it off as something silly.

It doesn’t take much to make someone feel less isolated in a situation. All you have to do is speak up.

I’ve been bullied a lot when I was a kid. I’ve been called freak, stoner, loser, chink, gook, and dike (I’m not a lesbian, but apparently I dressed like one? Please explain how one dresses like a dike). What is it about kids who seem to dole out the punishments for being different a lot? I couldn’t wait to get out of the little suburban town I grew up in and moved to New York, where the entire city understands who I am and can nurture me.

Luckily for me, I had a lot of friends who understood and provided a shelter and safety I needed from the cruelty of young people. They made me feel like I belonged and they showed me that you don’t need to be popular to feel wanted. Even when the president of Student Council was calling us freaks out loud, I didn’t feel the blow because we were in this together. It’s what got me through high school. And that’s what we need to remember otherwise we’ll see much more kids in the news.

I don’t want to get political because this is a book blog, but one thing that needs to be said is that we all need to be allies. Friend or foe, we need to be looking out for each other. If there’s a bully and someone needs help, we can help them. I’m not asking that you puff out your chest and show them who’s boss, but I’m saying that if someone needs our help and we’re able-bodied human beings we should help them.

My friend could have used someone who could have simply said that what he did wasn’t cool. Libby could have used someone against her bullies and maybe she wouldn’t feel like she’s in this world all alone. Every person who witnesses someone being messed around with can help that person out. We just need to be alert.

Memories, trinkets, and a good story

I love memories and trinkets. The mind’s ability to recognize something and immediately understand that this was a part of my childhood. Even if it only lasted for a few fleeting moments in my life, I can remember my fondness for a wind up toy or how I lovingly caressed my barbies.

Memories and their correlation to trinkets and ephemera are powerful. You’re immediately transported to another world. It’s similar to reading. Reading sometimes feels like a memory to me. It’s like I’m watching a show I loved when I was a kid or feeling like this is something that actually happened to me. Stories transport you and any good writer allows the story to take you wherever it needs to go.

What I find extremely funny in this world of mine is that the trinkets and ephemera of the novels I read suddenly become things that I tangibly need. For example, the key to the secret garden Mary Lennox comes across in The Secret Garden or the twin ivory elephants.

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Or perhaps the locket from A Little Princess:

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And that little piece of ephemera whisks you away to a place where the ground is still fertile or a promise to return. You are Mary Lennox or Sara Crewe. You lived their lives and looking back on these trinkets is almost like looking back at yourself as a kid.

As an adult, it’s always good to look back at the good times and remember when things were a lot easier. You can imagine getting lost in the wild and you can remember bike rides and your favorite toys and the one trinket that you’ll always hold dear to your heart. The same can be said about books. There will always be the story you remember to warm your heart and soul and think about the best moments in your life.

As long as you have that, then there’s never anything to worry about.