Young adult novels have provided us with stories that have tackled diversity, romances, and illnesses. The genre has never been afraid to wrap itself around the cliche that many people think it is, but many YA novels have burst out of this stereotype altogether.
Debut author Nicola Yoon is a hopeless romantic and a proud member of We Need Diverse Books. Last year she found herself introducing to the world her characters who speak of diversity and boast of love and passion — with a bit of a charismatic twist that fans will fall in love with.
Synopsis of Everything, Everything from Nicola Yoon’s website:
Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The story unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations and more.
Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.
You know how much I loved Everything, Everything, and that cover is life! What inspired you to write the book, and why Everything, Everything for your title?
I started writing Everything, Everything when my daughter was just four months old. I was a new mom, and I worried about everything! I worried about her getting a cold or eating dirt or falling and bumping her head. My new-mom protective instincts were going nuts! It got me thinking: What if there was a girl who needed constant protection, not just as a baby but for her whole life? What would that do to the relationship between the girl and her mom? What would happen when that girl got older and started wanting to form other relationships?
Can you please explain to us Madeline’s disease/disorder, and how would you say it shaped her character in this novel?
Madeline has a form of a rare immune system disease. What this means is that she’s basically allergic to the world and is unable to leave her house. She hasn’t left it in all of her seventeen years. When a very cute boy (Olly) moves in next door, she begins to question the life she’s known, and a complicated romance develops between them.
What do you think makes young adult novels so popular?
YA books take place in the teenage years when most people are questioning anything and everything around them — the meaning of life/love, friendship, family, dreams, ambitions. All of those things make for excellent and dramatic storytelling.
Everything, Everything talks about going out into the world and seeking an adventure you’ve never had, whether it be love or finding a new discovery. Do you think discoveries should be grand for it to be considered important?
No, I think some of the most important discoveries are the small ones we make about ourselves.
Describe your favorite characters in your novel in 3 words each.
• Maddy — innocent, funny, brave
• Olly — philosophical, damaged, romantic
• Carla — nurturing, perceptive, fierce
Your newest novel is also your debut, and it hit the shelves on September 1, 2015. Are you currently writing your next book? May we know what it is about?
Yes, I’m working on my second young adult novel. I can’t say too much about it except that there’s love involved!
Speaking of debuts, what should an aspiring writer do to make their debut novel stand out? Or, how does one prepare to be a debut novel author?
I have two pieces of advice: First, write the very best book you can, the book of your heart. Second, and more practically, join a debut group of other authors. You will meet absolutely wonderful people and get good advice on all things debut.
What is your message to those who got to read your book in advance and to those who will read it now that it’s out?
First, thank you so much for reading it. It means the world to me. Second, live your life to the fullest. Try to surround yourself with people you love and that love you. Love is everything.