Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: e-ARC, 240 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Read: August 2015
I received a e-ARC from Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Dec. 2016 – It has been brought to my attention that this book is extremely ableist. Here’s an in depth review that explains this more.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my 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.
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.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book is simple in general but so rich. We follow the day to day life of our main character but it ends up being more than that. We follow her self- discovery, we see her family relationships and her friendships. How her health affects her life and how that affects her thoughts on a daily basis. And it was incredibly cool that we get pictures and graphs that seem written by the main character to get to know her even more.
Writing Style – 5 out of 5 stars
I absolutely loved the writing style. It feels as if the main character is talking to us, or writing in a personal diary. It’s personal and emotional and poetic. Super short at times (there’s one sentence chapters) but it’s simplicity doesn’t make it lack connection. It tells us even more about her personality and her life.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
All of the characters in this book are complex, beautiful and captivating. They all shine in different ways for our main character and they constantly affect her thoughts and actions, in good and bad way depending on who it is. Maddy, our main character, is beautiful. She’s brave and funny and sometimes moody. But she’s strong emotionally, she deals with her disease with such apparent easy it’s astounding. She can get emotional or dramatic about somethings but there are just small moments with her, not drawn out monologues. Her love interest in this story is both her opposite and her equal. They’re both brave, honest, caring and kind. He’s strong emotionally in a different way than she is as well as physically strong. He has his moments of quirkiness that off set her moments of nerdiness and I just loved watching their relationship blossom.
I have heard a lot of great things about this book and I’m so glad I finally sat down to read it because I really enjoyed it.
The plot of this book revolves around Maddy, a girl who suffers from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) meaning she’s allergic to the majority of things in the outside world. We follow her day to day life and watch her develop as her environment changes. I loved her growth and self discovery and specially how it developed slowly and we got to see everything about it. Her relationships in the beginning, though they were limited to her Mom, her nurse Carla and sometimes her teacher, are deep and meaningful in their own ways. She has a very close connection to her Mom, who she always says gave up her life to keep her alive and it reminded me a lot of my own relationship with my own mom, since we also spend a lot of time together and we grew closer because of a health problem. I loved her relationship with Carla. Her nurse is the only person who challenges her to think beyond her disease which really helped with her character development while being super endearing at the same time.
The writing allows us to get to know Maddy in depth. It feels like she’s speaking to you or writing in a personal diary so you basically get her entire thought process and it made for a really cool reading experience. She’s very strong and brave but at the same time, she had a very conformist attitude regarding her disease, but as she meets Olly and starts to want things outside of her house and comfort zone, you see how her mentality changes. He ends up being the push that gets her to go outside but it’s not just about him. I feel like it was a thought she always wanted to have, what it would be like to experience the world, but never really allowed herself to let it sink in. Once she runs away from home in the middle of the night and convinces Olly to go to Hawaii, you can really feel how the simplest things to us have such a huge impact on her. It was incredibly refreshing for me to have my own mindset changed to things that I’d become partially immune to.
Olly was amazing, I absolutely loved him. He has such a hard time in his family life and although he’s a bit cynical at times, in general he has a positive sort of attitude and a kind of roll with the punches flow to him. He uses parkour as a way to center himself and although he never says it or explains it, he also uses it as a way to alleviate his nerves when around Maddy. The most important thing about him to me was the way he was both a contrast and a similarity to Maddy’s personality. They’re both kind of nerdy though in different things, they’re both kind and caring but at the same time, they think about the world differently and they open each others eyes to things.
I did not see that plot twist coming. I was 100% convinced that she had that disease and that she almost died in Hawaii. Finding it that it was all built up by her mom out of desperation and depression was a huge shock to me and to Maddy. It was both really sad and really exciting. Sad because it gave her a whole new view on her Mom, that she wasn’t a super hero, that she also has problems like everyone else. She’d built her up on this pedestal and to find out she didn’t deserve it, was really tough on her. It’s a process to be able to forgive someone who shaped your life in such an immense way for what can seem like no reason at all. That was left a little open ended and in my mind, she does manage to forgive her mom because I’d hate for their relationship to be dissolved completely. At the same time it was really exciting because it meant she could go out into the world and find Olly which she did. That made me so happy and I was so glad it ended on that note. The way she did it on a bookstore and with her favorite book was really cute. In my mind, they’re now living happily ever after exploring every possible corner of the universe.
So that’s it for my review! Let me know what you think about it and if you’ve read this book, and what you thought! Thanks for reading.