Maddy has never left her house, if she does she could become severely ill or worse, she could die. Maddy has a medical phenomenon commonly referred to as “Bubble Baby Disease”, a disease that means you have an underdeveloped immune system and makes you vulnerable towards illness, even the common cold could send you to hospital. Bubble Baby Disease is, in essence, being allergic to everything and anything but with no real knowledge of what can or will cause a reaction whether mild or severe. Maddy’s mother, a qualified doctor, diagnosed with the disease as a baby (even though you are not allowed to practice on your own family) and just after her father and brother were killed in a car crash. Under her mother and nurses watchful eyes, Maddy stays at home reading, eating, learning, having Mother/Daughter time and sleeping. This is until, someone moves in next door.
Olly and his family have just moved in next door and Maddy watches them from her bedroom window (sounds creepy I know), eventually she begins to keep track of their whereabouts and what they do (yup, just got creepier, this is starting to seem like a stalker thriller). It seems she quickly becomes infatuated with the boy she has never met and begins to have conversations with him from her bedroom window (not until after the very tragic death of a cake though). The two soon begin to email each other as often as they can, letting their feelings for each other grow but Maddy feels she must keep Olly a secret (after all, exposure to the outside world could be fatal). She doesn’t even tell Carla, her nurse, about the mysterious Olly, but she notices when Maddy tries to hide her laptop away. Knowing that young love is blooming she reluctantly agrees to let Olly come over to see Maddy as long as the correct precautions are followed.
The day comes when they get to meet (yay) and as Maddy enters the room she finds Olly clinging to the wall inspecting a fake tree in the sunroom. The pair talk, sat at opposite sides of the room as told to do. When Olly leaves all Maddy thinks of when she’ll be able to see him again (aww young love). They meet again and again, always seeming to get closer and closer with each meeting (emotionally and physically *wink wink*) until one day Maddy convinces Olly to teach her to do a handstand. As Maddy takes a tumble she feels hands holding her up. But it doesn’t stop there, eventually the two kiss, from then on it is obvious they are in love but will it last? Maddy’s finds out about the secret meetings resulting in Carla being fired and Maddy being more closely monitored by her mother and her new nurse.
(Time for a change of pace) Maddy leaves the house. She sees Olly being attacked by his dad and can’t stop herself (Hence her mum finding out). But she leaves again, knowing the consequences she goes out at night while her mum is asleep. Throwing stones at his window she successfully gets the attention of Olly and they make their way to the roof. This is a place Olly frequents so often Maddy thinks there must be something special hidden up there (if burger wrappers are special then yeah!).
As it gets harder to stay away from the boy she has fallen for, Maddy remembers what Carla said to her before leaving, and decides it is time to forget about being alive and start to live. She books two tickets to Hawaii and sets about convincing Olly to go with so they can live each other’s company, even if it may only be for a while. She succeeds and they head off to Hawaii. As they explore the island they enjoy themselves and each other’s company, they enjoy the sun and the sea while Olly believes that Maddy is on experimental drugs (because who wouldn’t ask for proof in a life threatening situation right?) to help her immune system and keep her healthy while they’re there. They constantly grow closer and become more intimate as their little tropical holiday continues, but soon everything goes wrong. Maddy becomes ill and gets rushed to hospital. Has her illness and the journey finally taken its toll?
Everything Everything makes you realise how much in life you take for granted, when you’re born you’re given the gift of life and an entire world to go and explore and adventure but so few people ever do. Maddy never had that gift. She lost her father and brother and was diagnosed in such quick succession that she’s never been able to live. She causes mixed feelings in the reader, on one hand you’re jealous of all her books, wishing you had a collection as substantial as hers and of her seemingly easy life (besides the all “anything can kill you” thing) but on the other, you feel sorry for her. She’s lost so much and is trapped inside, never able to venture beyond the front door with little human contact except her mother, nurse and the occasional visit from her architecture tutor (until Olly comes along of course).
Olly seems like the stereotypical “misunderstood” character, you see him as a rebel, climbing up walls (literally), doing as he pleases, when he pleases but it’s all just a distraction from his bad home life and alcoholic, abusive father. He is caring though and does worry about Maddy whilst loving her entirely. Maddy’s nurse Carla seems so lovely, as well as being her nurse, Carla is so obviously a close friend to Maddy and wishes to do the best by her even after she is fired by her hysteric (okay so that’s a bit of a stereotype but I’m rolling with it) mother. Her mother, though seeming like a loving and doting mother there is just something off about her (and I don’t mean she’s past her sell by) and for some reason you always feel like she’s hiding something very important.
In all this is a heart-warming story about life, living, love and what a mother is willing to do to keep her children safe. If anything, the only negative I can give it is that it’s too short which makes it feel like something is missing from the story but you can still sit and comfortably read this in one go, even if you are a slow reader such as myself.
What would you do if you have been to live life trapped inside your own home because going out could mean death? Would you risk everything for the sake of love? This story will show you that life must be lived and that love is worth risking life itself sometimes.
Awarded 3.5 out of 5 Stars