“Mom,” Emily said breathlessly waving a copy of Everything, Everything at me from the couch. “This book is SO good. You have to read it before we go to the screening!”
Emily is an avid reader who devours books but her new love of Everything, Everything is right up there with her obsession with The Breakfast Club, The Fault in Our Stars, Harry Potter, Hamilton, and Star Wars and I can see why. I was immediately enraptured by the book and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.
About Everything, Everything
What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face…or kiss the boy next door?
Everything, Everything tells the unlikely love story of Maddy Whittier, a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly Bright, the boy next door who won’t let that stop them.
Maddy is desperate to experience the much more stimulating outside world, and the promise of her first romance. Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, she and Olly form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together…even if it means losing everything.
If the above made you wanting to know more, order Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon on Amazon Prime right now and while you’re waiting, go see the movie that opens in theaters today.
About Everything, Everything: The Movie
Based on the New York Times bestseller, Everything, Everything the movie centers around love. But as we know, love is complicated and takes on many forms. Everything, Everything has it all— the sweet romance of young love that creates a gold standard for relationships in the minds of today’s youth and the kind of love that we feel for our kids. The presence of different kinds of love makes the story instantly relatable to teens and parents alike.
Fans of Everything, Everything wanting the movie to be everything the book is will not be disappointed by the romantic drama. There’s a smart cast of characters whose physical appearances intentionally represent the diversity in the world around us, modern elements such as the way our kids rely on digital devices to maintain and establish relationships via text, and unexpected twists and turns along the way that will keep you watching until the lights come on.
Whether you see it with your teen or on your own, the movie opens the door for conversations about many important topics like healthy relationships, first dates, having sex for the first time, screen time, and why we, as parents, make it our job to love and protect our kids despite their fight for independence. If you’re at a loss about how to discuss any one of these topics with your teen, here’s how you can start the conversation after you see Everything, Everything the movie.
3 Things to Discuss with Teens After Seeing Everything, Everything
Never having been outside before, Maddy has never experienced a first date, first kiss, and the intimacy that comes with love. Teens will love watching the love story develop between the two young characters while parents will appreciate that Maddy and Olly model the kind of healthy relationship we hope our kids will have.
At a time when hormones are raging, we want our kids to fall in love with people who respect and cherish them for who they are but it isn’t ok to assume that they already know this. Use the movie to talk about what healthy vs unhealthy relationships are, what love is, when might be the right time to have sex, and what consent is.
I know. These are serious topics but they’re important.
Use Everything, Everything to start the conversation using Maddy and Olly as examples and then direct your teen to Amaze.org’s resources on healthy relationships and these 4 videos that correspond to themes in the movie:
Some of the videos are animated but it doesn’t mean they’re for little kids. I love that they’re done in a way that tweens and teens can relate to them thanks to important information presented in a way that they will identify with.
Digital Devices and Relationships
Maddy and Olly’s infatuation starts at their bedroom windows but grows into love via text. These days our teen’s social world is on their phone. Through texting, Instagram, and Snapchat our kids are sharing information about the mundane things that happened at school as well as the juicy gossip, getting to know each other, and making plans. Today’s teens are hooked on their smartphones and if it’s an ongoing challenge to get your teen to put down their phone and be present, I can help.
Start by examining your own device use— Kids of all ages model what they see and if you’re constantly picking up your phone, they will too. It’s hard to get a teen to stop when they see you doing exactly what you don’t want them to do. It’s hypocritical of us to ask them to stop when we won’t ourselves.
Revisit the rules about media in your home— In the movie, Maddy and Olly were staying up late to text each other. If your teen’s device use is keeping them awake at night, it’s time to have a talk. It may be tempting to ban devices for awhile but it’s more constructive to have a conversation about why it’s time to update your family media plan. Cricket Media’s new Keeping Tech in Check site is all about digital balance, rather than banning technology. It’s full of resources, including a personalized family media plan by HealthyChildren.org that helps us be conscious of when we’re using media to achieve a purpose rather than displace activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime & sleep.
Screenshots are forever— In the movie, Maddy and Olly kept their texting to words but since today’s tweens and teens do get requests for photos from love interests, they need to know that photos are forever. The scantily clad or nude photo may just be intended for one person to see but whether it’s sent via text, Snapchat, or Instagram message, all it takes is a single screenshot for it to live on forever. And even though your child may have intended for one special person to see that image, chances are that it will be shared so it’s best to remind your tween or teen to resist the urge because sexts are like toothpaste— once it’s out there, it’s impossible to put it back in.
Know the effects of blue light on sleep— Parenting in the digital age requires knowing about blue light and how it causes digital eye strain with symptoms that include tired, sore eyes, headaches and trouble focusing. Since teens need their sleep, it’s good to make it a family rule to limit device use before bed to reduce exposure to harmful blue light that can keep kids awake. Here’s what you need to know about blue light and my 5 Ways to Help Reduce Your Child’s Exposure to Blue Light from Digital Devices post tells you everything you need to know about blue light and how reducing exposure to it can help prevent digital eye strain.
While Maddy and Olly explored romantic love, there was a special bond between Maddy and her mom, Dr. Pauline Whittier, as mother and daughter. Their relationship was sweet yet tinged with guilt as Maddy yearned to explore her independence. Parents will identify with Pauline’s hurt while teens will empathize with Maddy and appreciate her nurse, Carla, for fostering her desire for new experience.
Our teens need to know that it’s hard for us parents to let go. Our kids will always be our babies, regardless how old they are, but we need to let them spread their wings and fly when the time is right. We hope that we have armed them with all the information they need to be stand up human beings who can make good decisions and know right from wrong but we also have to realize that sometimes heart overrules head. We want to be their Carla but at the same time, we want to be protective like Dr. Whittier and finding age appropriate balance is key to letting them grow up.
Our tweens and teens need to know that we will always love them and we can’t always pause our desire to protect and shield them from the ills of the world.
Everything, Everything opens in theaters today and I hope you will make time to see this fabulous movie with your tween or teen during opening weekend!
I received complimentary tickets to attend a screening of Everything, Everything. No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Images courtesy of Universal Pictures.