My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next-door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him.
He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Following Madeline through her different, and difficult, lifestyle was definitely an adventure worth taking. In a weird way, this book is uplifting as you see her flourish in areas she always expected to fail in. Such as having a romantic relationship – she never thought that would be achievable given her deadly illness.
From the beginning of the book, you learn that she literally is allergic to everything. There are rigorous health and safety checks for visitors to partake in before they can even step foot into the house as any ‘outside germ’ has the potential to kill her. Only, everything really isn’t as it seems.
I find it uplifting because you get to see her grow so much as the book progresses. She seems shy and introverted for a while, but you actually come to learn she’s not that way at all. She wants to live but finds it impossible to do so inside the four walls of her home that soon starts to feel like a prison.
I appreciate that her mother had a lot of mental health problems due to the death of her dad and brother so her lying about Maddy having this extremely rare genetic disorder doesn’t seem as far-fetched. However, what makes no sense is that Maddy never questioned it. She literally never questioned her mother about it, she just accepted it as fact. She’s clearly a smart girl, so why wouldn’t she ask more about it?
My favorite character was actually Madeline’s nurse, Carla. She was so caring and loving, it’s easy to understand why she did what she did for Maddy. By inviting Olly over, she was proving to her that nothing was impossible and there were other ways to live even with her condition.
The final thing that made no sense was how she figured out where Olly lived at the end of the book? I could only assume that he said where they were moving to in one of his 600 emails. Otherwise, she literally would be psychic which seems highly unlikely.
I really loved the Hawaii trip, I thought it proved that she actually was capable of doing anything she wanted to. I also loved the layout of the book. It wasn’t just paragraphs of words, there were illustrations, IM chats, email, and more as well which made the book easy to read.
Finally, the plot twist at the end is really good and makes the book deserving of a higher rating.
It has it flaws, but I really enjoyed reading this book and give it 4/5 stars.
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