Everything You Ever Wanted is a novel about escape, sometimes eerie and sometimes heartbreaking as it charts finding a new life on a new planet. Iris works in London creating digital content, hiding her depression and anxiety, trapping in after work drinks and strategy meetings. The Life on Nyx programme sounds both insane and enticing: 100 people moving to another planet, free from social media and employment and everything else, but with the caveat that you can’t come back. And with it, maybe Iris has found her way out.
The combination of a detailed and powerful account of difficulties in modern life with an uncanny escape narrative about the failings of a space utopia works strangely well. The point at which these parts collide—where Iris chooses to leave her old life for a new one—is emotional, working on both the literal narrative level (another planet over dealing with your issues) and a more metaphorical one. The Nyx parts were better than expected for someone who isn’t big on sci-fi, much more focused on Iris’ perspective and the realities of her choice than the practicalities of them being there.
Everything You Ever Wanted takes a story of youthful burnout and mental health issues and combines it with light sci-fi and a sharp look at social media obsession. The result is a novel in an engrossing style that draws you into the central character’s mindset, with a narrative that keeps pushing forward.