Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

Cover image for Everything, Everything
Cover image for Everything, Everything

With all the buzz surrounding this book, I expected a good novel, but just how good was entirely out of the realm of expectation.

“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.” —Indiebound.org

First of all, I love Madeline. She is an incredible protagonist. She’s a positive and vibrant kid, despite all the adversity that she’s faced, and she makes a little joy go a long way. So when the pretty teenager next door moves in, this reader, at least, had a lot of feelings. Excitement, because yay, maybe she’ll finally have a little extra dash of joy in her life. And apprehension, because knowing how sick she is, and knowing how difficult love is and how difficult it is to be a teenager, it’s hard not to be pessimistic about the whole thing.

Olly is a wonderful character, too. Both of these kids have their share of heavy burdens that seem too difficult for kids to bear. Unfortunately, sick and abused kids are all too common in our messed up world. It’s no wonder that they are drawn to, love, and support each other. I thought, perhaps, that I could predict exactly where this love story was going, but I was wrong.

Perhaps that’s what I loved most about it. It seems as if it’s going to go in one direction, but despite Madeline being trapped in her own house for literally her whole life, this novel still manages to be full of adventure, suspense, and excitement. I would argue that there is a villain, and that villain is found in the most unexpected place.

The relationships between characters are perhaps the most moving part of the novel. Obviously, the reader is simply smitten with Olly and Madeline, but the relationship between Madeline and her mother, or Madeline and her nurse are equally, if not more, moving than Madeline’s romance with the boy next door. I found myself really wanting to play Phonetik Scrabble because it sounds like a lot more fun than regular Scrabble.

This has to be one of the best YA books I’ve read in a really long time. It’s full of heart, full of adventure, lots of soaring highs and devastating lows. There’s probably more emotion packed into these 300 pages than many entire series have in them. I highly recommend it, for those few people who haven’t read it yet!

12.34–The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

12.34–The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

 

This book was an absolute delight to read.  I’m not a big mystery enthusiast, but this book was well-written, well-plotted, and intelligent in a way that many mystery novels are not.

Mary Russell is a fun character to delve into.  King wrote the story in first-person from Mary’s point of view, and Mary is delightful.  The Sherlock Holmes that the reader sees in this novel is not the same as that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original portrayal of him.  In this novel, he is 30 years older, seemingly retired, and much less sociopathic than the original.  It’s a little hard to get used to, because the original Holmes is strangely lovable as an asshole, but I came to love this one too.

Mary and Sherlock meet one day as she is walking across the fields of Sussex.  With her face buried in a book, the fifteen-year-old nearly tramples him, and that is their first fateful meeting.  After a brief conversation, in which Mary startles and fascinates him with her sharp wit and cunning intelligence, he brings her back to his cottage, where  he lives in retirement.  There, Mrs. Hudson feeds her undernourished frame, and her friendship with Holmes solidifies.  Shortly, she begins to come to his cottage multiple times a week, and an unspoken agreement that he will train her as his apprentice arises.  The majority of this novel is back story, though eventually they begin to solve cases together, until the last big one of the novel breaks over their heads like a storm surge.  I confess, the mystery of it was cunningly constructed, and I did not see the resolution coming at all.  This may be because I rarely read mysteries and am not used to deducing the outcome, but I like to think it’s because King is a clever writer.

The prose is extremely enjoyable.  Mary Russell is extremely intelligent and well-spoken.  Her vocabulary is exceptional, and I had to make a list of the words I did not know.

per·i·pa·tet·ic:  [per-uh-puh-tet-ik]

adjective

1.  walking or traveling about; itinerant.
Wonderful, fun read. I couldn’t put it down! I highly recommend it for fans of mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, and strong female protagonists.  Thanks so much to Peri for recommending this novel to me! I can’t wait to read more in the series.  You recommend more books to me than I do to you!