Is 'Everything, Everything' A True Story? The Movie Is Based On A YA Favorite
Everything, Everything, the upcoming teen romance starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, is gearing up to take the box office by storm. The film is about Maddy, a teenage girl who has lived her entire life inside the home she shares with her mother. Maddy suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency — in other words, she's allergic to the outside — but she begins to question the limitations of her health when she meets a mysterious boy next door, Olly. If the movie sounds like it's straight out of a Young Adult book, that's because it is. Everything, Everything isn't based on a true story, but on a book of the same name by Nicola Yoon.
Everything, Everything might not belong to the dystopian science-ficiton audiences have gotten used to from YA adaptations (see: The Hunger Games and Divergent), but it's still just as fictional. Though the book is mostly a love story, Yoon was actually inspired to write the book after she became a mother. "I started just thinking about, what if there was a girl who always knew the level of protection that moms give to newborns? I just started imagining what that would do to her, and her relationship with her mom," Yoon said in an interview with Mashable.
Another source of inspiration for the author was her daughter, who specifically helped the author shape Maddy's identity. "I just wanted her to be able to read about a character that looks similar to her," she said in an interview with Bustle, adding that she was determined to ensure that her daughter would be "able to see a character that looked a little bit like her." Yoon's daughter is half Jamaican and half Korean, while Maddy in the book is half Asian American and half African American. It's unclear whether or not Maddy is intended to be biracial in the film, but her presence as a rare black heroine in a film will be impactful regardless. As Yoon told Salon, her now five-year-old was elated to meet Stenberg on set, saying, "The first thing she said was, 'Oh my gosh, she looks just like me!'"
The plot of Everything, Everything might not be based on a true story, but the diverse characters and relationships are based in truth. Specifically, the book and film tackle mother-daughter relationships and young love. In other words: it's the kind of story every teenager (and adult) is going to be able to relate to.