REVIEW: 'Everywhere, Everything, Everyone' by Katy Warner Felt Like A Novel I've Read A Million Times (and in some ways, I have)
Hello Lit Clubbers,
Once again I have slightly neglected my duty as a Lit Club discussion leader and am posting a review fairly late (to be fair, I’ve been reading). I read ‘Everywhere, Everything, Everyone’ well before Christmas and I actually finished it pretty quickly. This year I’m actually hoping to stay on task with my reviews but we’ll see about that.
A vivid, captivating contemporary YA novel about the power of resistance, from a stunning Australian debut author. Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Z for Zachariah.
Even though she lives on the wrong side of town, 16-year-old Santee believes her world is like ours: that running late for curfew will only get you grounded, and that the government tries to keep its good citizens safe and secure. Until one night, everything changes.
On her way home from school, Santee takes a detour to the outskirts of town with a boy that she likes – and then finds herself stranded overnight when his car breaks down. When she’s finally able to get a lift towards home the next morning, Santee discovers that everything has changed. A ‘safety border’ – a wall – has gone up around her part of town, imprisoning her family and trapping her on the outside…
With its subtle familiarity and a tender, defiant teen romance at its core, Katy Warner’s powerful debut novel is about the importance of hope and standing up for what you believe in.
From small cracks, big cracks grow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I liked this book quite a bit but I feel like I’ve read so many variations of this plot that I can’t rate it all too high because it was just so standard.
I’ll start by commending the fact that unlike some other typically standard dystopian novels, this book didn’t drag. There was always something happening which is excellent for such a short book. I also really appreciated how the government was structured as this one was focused on control to a level that it was some form of micromanaging the lives of their population which I just found really fascinating.
I also quite liked some of the side characters but others fell a bit flat for me. I actually really liked Mila (Z’s little sister) and I truly wish we got to see more of her in the book because she was awesome. It actually wasn’t until @zitongbooks mentioned how under appreciated he felt Peter was that I decided to reread over his parts and I definitely agree, I think that he subtly added a lot to the story. I couldn’t really connect to Tash (Santee’s bully) because despite her redemption arc she still couldn’t really catch my attention. I really appreciated how human Z’s dad and neighbour were because they truly read like legitimate people which is always a bonus for me. I didn’t love Z as he just wasn’t a character I could easily connect to and it threw me off a bit when he was portrayed as this ‘flawless’ person. It wasn’t until he started being more human that I was able to convince myself he wasn’t part robot. I also didn’t love Santee as I just couldn’t ignore her absolutely tragic reasoning abilities but other than that, I suppose she was fine.
I really didn’t enjoy the ‘insta-love’ aspect of this book. I get that for shorter books things have to happen at a quicker pace but I also felt that being bombarded by a somewhat disingenuous romance is the first 50 or so pages isn’t the way to do it. I would much rather a romance with growing chemistry as it is SO HARD to root for people that hardly know each other. I also found it incredibly difficult to believe that Santee would prioritise a relationship shortly after being segregated from her family and finding the incredibly damaging flaws in her government.
Now lets get into everybody’s favourite part… the weird protests to take down the government. I must say, the protest were weird but I’m glad that the author portrayed rebellion in a way that a real 16 year old would attempt to rebel because as much as I wanted her to become an absolute badass and fight to the death with Varick it is unlikely that it would work in the favour of a 16 year old. That being said, I really doubt that somebody as corrupt as Varick is going to see some protests and think ‘wow, this is incredible and the people are right. I need to stop being such a dictator.’ THATS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Alternatively, it would have absolutely sent me into hysterics if they tried to protest and then it failed that would have been *weird Italian chef kiss* beautiful. And after they fail the protests and Varick just gets mad and does something terrible, they infiltrate the government somehow and take it down from the inside. Not trying to brag but it also fixes @sylvs issue with the unresolved plot. Just a thought, take it or leave it.
Overall, this book was pretty good. There were elements/tropes that I didn’t like but it was a fairly enjoyable fast paced book. I’m rating it 3/5.
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