Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 1st 2015
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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.
-A copy was provided by Delacorte Press for review-
When I went to BEA, there seemed to be quite a bit of buzz about this book. Since I am a big fan of contemporary and issue books, I knew I had to have this. I am so glad that I got this one too. It was seriously good. I was intrigued by the characters illness and how she lived her life. A lot about her actual illness was left out, but it was good enough that I didn’t feel there was lack of information. I mean, this book is really about her wanting to have a real life. As real and normal as it possibly can be with her condition anyways. There were a few little issues here and there, like her having to have books go through a special sterilization process, but yet she orders new clothes online and there’s no mention of anything special being done about her clothes. Beyond that though, this was a wonderful and heartbreaking story about a girl trying to really live her life.
Maddy has a very rare disease, SCID, which means she is allergic to the world pretty much. She has to live in her sterile home, eating certain foods, and having no contact with others unless they go through a special physical and sterilization process. It’s a lonely life, but it’s all she has known. She gets a long with her mother and her caregiver very well. Her and her mom are best friends, as well as her caregiver. She is mostly happy in her life the way it is. That is until Olly moves in next door. They start off with emailing and IM’s, then they break the rules and meet in person. Maddy is smart though. Even though she wants so much to get to know him better, and spend real time with him, she’s scared. She knows that it’s dangerous. She then starts to realize that the life she is living isn’t really living at all. She wants more, even if it isn’t safe. Even if it could mean the end. She would rather live happily for a few days, than wonder what the outside world could be like for years and years to come.
The romance may have seemed like it moved fast, but due to the circumstances of both characters, I found it to be believable. Obviously, Maddy has never had real contact with anyone besides her mom, caregiver, and occasionally a professor for school purposes. It makes sense that she would fall quickly and with not knowing what comes next for her she doesn’t want to hold back. Olly on the other hand seems like he could go out and find anyone one else, but he only has eyes for Maddy. With his home life and how he connects with Maddy it is totally believable that he really has fallen for her quickly too. They see each other for who they really are. They are willing to take risks for each other. They will lay it all out there for the other.
This was a beautiful story. I loved how the romance unfolded and how both Maddy and Olly’s stories were told. I thought that Maddy was a wonderful character who is not stupid or reckless, but willing to live. She isn’t without fear, but she also knows what she wants and what she doesn’t. My heart broke for her many times while reading this. And the ending of this book… OMG I was like “WTF!?” There is a good twist at the end. I kind of thought something along the lines of it a few times during the story, but the way it all happened was just amazing. I mean, story wise and making you really feel. I have to say that this has been one of my favorite books I have read this year. It was just so real and I loved Maddy’s story. I will definitely read more from this author!