*I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Release Date: September 3rd 2015
Summary (From Goodreads):
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and 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.
Wow, I could not put this down. I started it in the morning on the way to work and finished it before bedtime. It just kept pulling me in and making me want to read more and more.The story is often a sad one: there were times when it actually hurt to read on as I imagined being in Maddy’s position.
While she hasn’t had her fair lot in life, Maddy gets by just fine, losing herself in books and her relationship with her Mom and her nurse, Carla. But when she starts interacting with the boy next door, everything begins to change.
There were some times when I thought Maddy’s behaviour was reckless: when you consider everything she risks just by seeing Olly, it didn’t seem worth it for a boy she only just met. But the more I read, the more I understood her point of view. There were times when I’d think, what is the point? For Maddy, every day is the same as the one before it, and there’s no end to that, apart from death.
The relationship with Olly begins beautifully. It made me smile and I understood her attraction to him, and also her fear. It felt like he would always be more to her than she was to him: she had nothing without him, but he could always go out and find someone else.
There were times when I didn’t agree with Maddy’s actions (trying not to spoil anything here) but I did come round to her way of thinking. What’s the point of life if you’re not able to live it? What’s the point of keeping yourself safe and well, if that’s all you spend your life doing? It felt so, so depressing, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I can’t believe I didn’t see the ending coming. It did flicker across my mind at the beginning but I quickly dismissed it, so when it came it felt like it was out of nowhere (I did a massive gasp and shocked face and everything). It just made Maddy’s life up until that point even more sad and frustrating.
As mentioned above, the story is told in different ways, with Maddy and Olly’s IM messages, pictures and other bits and pieces. The sad thing about my review copy (an e-copy from NetGalley) was that some of these didn’t show up, but I guess that just means I’ll be buying the real thing once it’s out.
I raced through this book and loved every second of it. It just feels like one of those books that everyone should read, and I hope they do! Great debut from Nicola Yoon.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.