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Literature / Everything, Everything

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Everything, Everything is a Young Adult novel by Nicola Yoon. It tells the story about Ill Girl Madeline, who suffers from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. In plain English, she's so incredibly susceptible to infection and disease that she can't ever leave her hermetically sealed house or interact with anything unsanitized. She has close to no contact with anybody except her mother and her private nurse Carla.

But one day, a new family, the Brights, moves into the house next door, and Madeline becomes fascinated by the funny and handsome Olly, the teenage son of the household. Slowly, a friendship buds between the two...

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Olly's dad freely uses violence towards any family members whom he feels deserves it.
    • Madeline's mom turns out to be even worse. She was lying about Madeline being sick the whole time, as a means to keep her with her.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Madeline's mom lost her husband and her son in a car wreck when Madeline was only a baby. This leads to her deciding that Madeline has SCID, and needs to be protected from the entire world. Carla admits she always suspected Madeline's mother wasn't ever quite sane after Madeline's father and brother died.
    • The novel was inspired by the birth of the author's daughter, and the protective and maternal feelings that followed, which made the author wonder how far she'd be willing to go to protect her child, under the right circumstances.
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    • The idea of your child having an illness that could kill them if they go outside for even a moment. Or, perhaps more accurately, the idea of your parent claiming you have such an illness...
  • Anti-Villain: Dr. Whittier, Madeline's mom. She loves Madeline with all her heart, but that love caused her to convince herself that Madeline has SCID, and consequentially keeping Madeline isolated from the entire world for the first eighteen years of her life. Also, while nothing excuses what she did, it's clear that she's not so much evil as she is mentally unstable, since she apparently still believes Madeline is sick at the end of the novel. So while she's sympathetic and Madeline still loves her — she is her mom, after all — it's also clear that Madeline isn't about to forget what her mother put her through.
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  • Believing Their Own Lies: It's clear that, on some level, Madeline's mother genuinely believes Madeline is sick, even after it becomes clear that it isn't true.
  • Bookworm: Madeline reads a lot, because there's not much else for her to do.
  • Cool Big Sis: Carla, despite being Madeline's nurse and old enough to be her mother, has this dynamic with her. She's protective and blunt with Madeline, but deeply cares for her, and is concerned with her emotional health as well as her physical health. She even lets Madeline go to Hawaii, and encourages her to look for evidence that her mother is lying to her.
  • Disappeared Dad: When Madeline was very young, her dad and brother were killed in an accident by a truck driver.
  • Domestic Abuse: A staple of the Bright household. Olly's father screams at and insults his family members repeatedly, and physical abuse is implied.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Once you know that Madeline isn't really sick, previous events seem very, very different.
  • Hired Help as Family: Madeleine's nurse Carla is seen by her as a member of the family, but Reality Ensues after her mother finds out Carla has allowed Olly to come and visit Madeleine. She fires her and replaces her with another nurse who is most definitely not considered a family member. Carla is rehired later as a form of bribery to get Madeleine to toe the line, and is the person she turns to when she and Olly try to run off together.
  • Ill Girl: Madeline. She can't even leave her house without risking her life. This turns out to not be the case.
  • It's All About Me: Madeline's mother, in a subtle way. While she does love Madeline, a lot of the restrictions and rules imposed on Madeline seem to be for her sake, not her daughter's. When Madeline nearly dies, her mother very noticeably asks, "How could you do this to me?"
  • Lethal Chef: You do not want to eat one of Mrs. Bright's Bundt cakes. Not that eating them are even an option. They're inedible in the most literal sense of the word.
  • Mixed Race: Madeline's got a black dad and a third-generation Japanese mom.
  • My Beloved Smother: Madeline's mom is close to her daughter, basically her only friend besides Carla, and very, very protective of her, which is understandable since one slip-up could lead to Madeline dying. But then you find out Madeline's not really sick...
  • Race Lift: In the novel, Madeline is half Japanese and half black. In the movie, she's played by half-black, half-caucasian Amandla Stenberg. Her mother, Japanese in the book, is black in the film.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • It's more or less common knowledge that doctors aren't supposed to practice on their own families. Madeline's mother is her doctor, but mostly, we can let that slide due to Willing Suspension of Disbelief... until we find out Madeline's mom was lying about Madeline being sick the whole time, ignoring other, impartial doctors who told her that Madeline was fine. Of course, most people wouldn't go that far, but that kind of severe lapse in judgement and desperation to keep someone alive, no matter what the cost, is precisely why doctors should not practice on their families. Lampshaded by the doctor who tells Madeline the truth, who comments that Madeline should get a second opinion from a doctor that isn't related to her.
    • Even though she isn't really sick, Madeline's immune system is a complete mess since she's been locked in her house for eighteen years. It improves slowly, but she's still very susceptible to illness.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Very understandably, this is Madeline's reaction to finding out her mother was lying about her being sick. It's never entirely clear if she'll ever get over it.
  • Title Drop: "Love is worth everything. Everything."
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about Madeline's mother without revealing that she's lying about basically everything.
  • WHAM Episode: The chapter "For Your Eyes Only." Madeline isn't really sick.
  • Wham Line: "I'm not sick. And I never have been."


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