I was in a reading slump lately and this book really brought me out of it. It was a quick read that kept my attention long enough for me to finish it in just a few days. Considering I have a newborn, a homeschooled five year old and I’m not a super fast reader I would say this book did a good job. There were things I loved and things I didn’t but I still enjoyed this book.
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.
Madeline is a teen that can become dangerously ill with contact from anyone or anything outside of her home that her mom has not sanitized. Her world changes when a new family moves next door. Her everything is challenged. I was initially interested in this story because I am actually allergic to everything. Seriously, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, nuts, and eggs. But I eat them anyway… (don’t judge me).
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Madeline gets involved with the boy next door in the most unique way. Being spotted watching through her window. Oliver and his sister stop by to try and get to know their neighbor. After being politely denied Oliver decides to leave his email address for the mystery girl (Madeline) on his bedroom window. Later they email and instant message their way into love.
Madeline soon has urges to want to meet her beau in person. Her caretaker Carla is a loving character that is a mother to a teenager herself. Carla gives in and allows contact with caution of course.
Olly’s (Oliver) relationship with his family, I believe was rushed and underdeveloped. Even though he wasn’t the main character I feel like more detail could have been put into his background. For example Olly was very active and I don’t remember if it was told why he enjoyed climbing things and why he just couldn’t sit still. I’m sure he needed to be a yin to Maddy’s (Madeline) yang without being too different. I mean she still had to have something in common with him. For instance their mutual interest in literature.
I also would have loved more of a focus on Madeline’s Mom’s heartache that lead to her mental illness. (Having a mother with mental illness myself this would have been something I would have enjoyed reading.) Maddy and her mother started out with a cute mother and daughter relationship but after Maddy finds out the truth she shuts her mother all the way out. I felt that she was being somewhat dramatic. I understand what she would be upset with her mother but she is still her mother and after knowing why her mother did what she did, I think Maddy was too eager to run into a boy’s arms that she really didn’t know that well. I feel like there should have been a positive conclusion to the mother daughter relationship. Her mother has a mental illness and leaving like she did is no way to treat a person with mental illness.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read that kept me engaged. I recommend this book as a great way to end a reading slump.