by Nicola Yoon
Source: I bought a paperback copy from BookOutlet
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Contemporary
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.
Review:I'm gonna go ahead and say right now that this review contains SPOILERS. I just don't really know how to talk about books at any length without giving away pertinent information! I can't do it! I'm sorry! And like, I absolutely hate it when people spoil stuff for me (in fact, this book spoiled the ending of Le Petit Prince, which made me mad!), but I honestly don't know how not to! So, I'm just not going to try.
Alright, so, that said... I adored this story! I tend to shy away from very cutesy high school romances, but this one was different. Maybe because it wasn't actually set in a high school, or maybe it was just the writing. We're obviously still talking about a couple of teenagers, one being very sheltered, but the story managed to be youthful without being juvenile.
Here come the spoilers.
Maddy only really interacts with three people: her doctor/mother, her nurse Carla, and Carla's daughter Rosa (she does her classes online, so she is in touch with other people, but not in person). Maddy never leaves her house, because she is allergic. To everything. Or so she thinks...
Olly moves in next door, and Maddy is immediately interested. But can you blame her? An attractive, moody teenage boy dressed in black who does parkour? I was into him, too...
Anyway, so they start communicating through the window, and then exchange e-mail addresses, and then start IM-ing at all hours of the night... And then Maddy convinces her nurse to make arrangements for Olly to come over while Maddy's mom is away. And they, of course, fall in love, as is to be expected.
Olly's dad is abusive, and things get pretty interesting when Maddy witnesses him beating Olly and she runs outside to help him. If she really is as sick as she's supposed to be, stepping outside for even a moment should result in an immediate and grave reaction.
But nothing happens.
Needless to say, Maddy's mom is beside herself that Maddy would go outside, and when she realizes just how well Maddy and Olly know each other, and what's been going on behind her back, she fires Carla and forbids Maddy from talking to Olly anymore.
Maddy's not having any of that. She plans a trip to Hawaii (because it's on her bucket list), buys the tickets online with her mom's credit card, and convinces Olly to go with her, despite the potential risk to her health, because love makes you crazy like that, right? Olly begrudgingly takes her, and they spend a magical weekend together, but then she starts to get sick. Knowing all about her apparent illness, and already being concerned for her health and his responsibility for her, Olly rushes her to hospital, her mom comes to take her home, and while she is recovering (and not talking to Olly, because, how embarrassing to almost die in front of the boy you love?!) Olly's family moves away.
After one of the doctors from the hospital in Hawaii contacts Maddy to tell her she doesn't have what she thinks she has, Maddy begins to question her health. She starts snooping through her mom's files and realizes that it has all been a fabrication, all this time. It turns out that her mom had a sort of psychotic break after the accident that took Maddy's father and brother, and fear made her believe that Maddy was ill, and therefore do everything in her power to protect her and keep her safe.
Maddy, understandably, leaves her crazy mother behind and goes to find Olly to start a new life with him.
I thought Maddy was awesome - cool and smart and well-read and knows what she wants. Olly was obviously super cool, too - did I mention the parkour? And their love story was super cute. Like, so sweet.
I loved Carla, too. She so obviously cares for Maddy as if she were her own daughter, and struggles with suspecting the truth about Maddy and her mom.
Maddy's mom... It's obvious that she meant well - she only wanted to protect this surviving piece of her family... but she's straight up crazy. Though you suspect the truth from the beginning, reading that part of the story is heartbreaking. Maddy's mom was so delusional that she absolutely believed all of it. She had gone so far off the deep end as to have written articles in medical journals about her daughter's super rare disease, and dealing with it... So sad!
My Goodreads rating: