I don’t do reviews. That’s what I wrote some time ago. I didn’t think I would ever have to come back on my words. However, I read a book late last night (and early morning) which simply begged for a review. I only read it because one of my students lent it to me and told me it was rather good for a young-adult novel. The book is called Everything, Everything, and it was written by Nicola Yoon. Want to know what I think of it, and what it made me think about myself? Read on!
The problem with young adult novels like these is they’re so damn predictable. Here’s how they’re all written:
- Intelligent, quirky girl (or boy)
- Funny, hot, equally quirky boy (or girl)
- A life-threatening illness which causes intelligent, quirky girl (or boy) to be withdrawn from society, and to be more cynical than most
- They fall in Love (not normal love, but Big Love, Life-Stopping-I-Would-Die-For-You-Love)
- They do something irresponsible, like travelling to another country to symbolise their departure from their old life
- Something bad happens on said journey
- PLOT TWIST
- They realise they will love each other even more from now on
I expected something like this before reading, and I wasn’t disappointed. That is to say, I was disappointed. I was hoping, and Yoon had me going for a good couple of chapters because of her lively writing style, that Everything, Everything would be different from the others. Turns out, it’s not. It’s filled with the same:
- Reference to so-called obscure books
- Disconnected trivia
- Dysfunctional families
- Annoyingly witty dialogue (seriously, nobody talks like that!)
- Realisation that Life Will Never Be The Same Again
- Unavoidable first-time sex
- PLOT TWIST
It’s a pity that most young-adult fiction seems to have become so formulaic. I love reading a book that has me on the edge of my seat and that surprises me. While these novels do pretend to discuss deep themes, they all fall flat to me. So here’s a question, posed in a similar way as the quasi-philosophical question are posed in Everything, Everything: is a plot twist a plot twist if you see it coming from miles away?
What did you think of Everything, Everything? Am I simply too old for young-adult novels? Have I really become that old that I’m worrying about being too old for some novels? Have I lost that youthful part of me that I hoped would be with me forever? How has this review turned into an existential crisis? Let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book musings!