“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

Novels, Read It Before the Movie, YA Fiction, YA Romance

I 18692431read this book because I saw the trailer for the movie and thought it looked incredibly cheesy. I had also just finished December Park which is about children getting snatched up, so cheesy sounded good at the moment. After finishing the book and re-watching the movie trailer for Everything, Everything, I’ve gotta say I’m so glad I read the book first. What comes across as stupid or ridiculous in the two-minute trailer is cute and endearing in the book.

Everything, Everything is about 18-year-old Madeline, a girl living with SCID, more commonly known as bubble-boy disease. She cannot leave her home because she is allergic to the outside world. If she left, she would die. She has lived her entire life under the protection of air filters, in-home nurses, a special diet, and an incredibly watchful but caring mother. Her small but for the most part fulfilling world is uprooted entirely when a new family moves in next door and she meets Olly, their teenage son. Madeline questions whether she’s really content in her bubble with her, her mother, and her nurse Carla. She has to learn the difference between just living and feeling truly alive.

What I loved about this book is the way that the author ties in little bits of Madeline’s quirky personality through doodles, drawings, and diary entries. It makes the character seem so much more real, especially since the premise is pretty unbelievable. The whole “bubble-boy” thing could have been ridiculous and overdone, but it wasn’t. Madeline isn’t angsty and desperate for the outside world. She is innocent and content and only just now contemplating the fact that there might be more to life than just the white walls and white sheets of her room.

This book was very reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars minus the cancer
and it’s romantic without being a gushy stupid teen romance. It was a super-fast read, and I blew through it in about half a day. It didn’t blow me away, but I wasn’t disappointed either. It was cute, innocent, fun, and perfect for a quick read on the front porch on a nice day. We’ll see if the movie can pull it off just as well.

Rating: 4.5/5

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LyEE7eR0nM

“December Park” by Ronald Malfi

Horror, Thriller

december-park-malfi-250x330December Park by Ronald Malfi was far better than I was expecting it to be. Mostly because I definitely judge a book by its cover, and it has one of the uglier covers I’ve seen. Design aside, December Park  was a pretty solid read. But reader beware: this one was lengthy. I didn’t mind it much because I enjoyed the story and the character details, but for those looking for a quick scare this 756 page thriller might not be for you.

The whole book had a very Stranger Things vibe to it, so if you’re a fan of the show, you’d probably enjoy the book. It focuses on teenager Angelo Mazzone (Angie for short) and his four friends in a usually peaceful, small seaside (bayside? cape-side? I don’t know the difference) town in Maryland. The town, Harting Farms, has recently seen a number of disappearances and nobody knows why. The police say they’re runaways, but the town believes they have a serial killer on the loose: The Piper, who lures the children away. When Angie and his friends see the cops recover the body of one of the missing kids, they decide to insert themselves into the investigation and catch the Piper themselves. Set in the early 90’s, the gang of boys patrols Harting Farms by bike. Again, very Stranger Things, just a different decade. The difference with December Park is that there’s nothing supernatural going on here. It’s all just straight up human psychopaths.

I really liked this book. I thought it had a bit of a slow start, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Even though I was reading about a group of teenage boys, it didn’t seem like I was. Told from Angie’s perspective, it’s written elegantly and the story flows together really well. I loved all of the characters, except for the ones I was supposed to hate. My only complaint is the ending. While the suspense built for the entire book and the end definitely creeped me out, I still can’t decide how I feel about it. It threw me for a bit of a loop and I had to reread the chapter just to make sure I had interpreted everything right, and I’ve got some mixed opinions. Read it for yourself and you decide.

Rating: 4.5/5