Publisher: Corgi Childrens Books
Publication Date: September 3rd 2015
Source: Gift from my Book Blogger Secret Santa!
[ Goodreads ] [ Book Depository ]
Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?
I received this book as a gift the first year I hosted the Book Blogger Secret Santa and for some reason had never gotten around to reading it. I am kicking myself at not reading this sooner because it is definitely one of my new favourite novels! (Also how cute is it that Nicola Yoon's husband illustrated the novel!)
The novel deals with Madeline, a girl who has not left her house in 17 years as she is allergic to the outside world and exposure to it could kill her. This was such an interesting and unique plot that captivated me. I have never read any books that deal with SCID and found it so interesting to read about Maddy's life in her incubator home. Descriptions of Maddy's sterile white home were so vivid that I almost felt I was there too breathing in the filtered air and sitting in her all white room.
The first paragraph of the novel captured my attention and had me eager to read more. "I've read many more books than you. It doesn't matter how many you've read. I've read more. Believe me. I've had the time."
I adored the writing style of the novel, Maddy's voice was so real and honest and completely engaging. The novels text is also broken up by unique illustrations, little one line reviews from books Maddy reads and dictionary definitions. This added another aspect to the novel and the story's plot. I loved these extra little bits scattered throughout the story.
The characters of the novel were amazingly written. Although there are not many characters, which is a given since Maddy has never left her home, they were all so realistic and three dimensional. Maddy was so great. Probably one of my favourite main characters of a standalone novel. She was funny, thoughtful and intelligent. I loved reading about her love of reading too. Her relationships were so well written, not only with the love interest of the novel Olly but also with her mother and her nurse Carla.
I loved Olly so much. He was so funny, shy and caring towards Maddy. Their relationship was so heartwarming and although it happened semi-fast there was no feeling of "insta-love" in the novel as it was so well written and drawn out. I loved learning more and more about him as Maddy became closer to him and their lives just began to intertwine as they began to fall for each other.
I also loved Carla, Maddy's nurse. She was so funny, sweet and caring towards Maddy- almost like an aunt towards her. She was definitely one of my favourite characters.
I also loved reading about Maddy's mother- their relationship was so well written and the family game nights of scrabble and movie nights were so nice to read about. Maddy's mother was an incredibly interesting character to read about.
The novel was utterly captivating- I finished it in two days because I could not put it down. I was immersed in Maddy's world, her thoughts and every plot twist had me completely hooked to read more and more. I really did not want the novel to end but I know I will definitely be re-reading this book again. I am also excited for the film, I hope they do a good adaptation of the novel.
A completely unique, captivating and unforgettable novel that will pull on your heartstrings.
Also let me know if you would be interested in seeing a movie review / comparison post in the comments below!