I don’t know how to describe this book; this book completely took me by surprise.
I had been meaning to read this book for quite some time and I finally got around to reading it. And I am so glad that I read it.
This is an epic book jam-packed with a lot of surprising twists.
The heroine, Maddy has been suffering from a severe form of SCID for as far as she could remember. Putting in a nutshell, she’s allergic to the world; the trigger can be anything –dust, food, spice, people, literally EVERYTHING can trigger a bout of lethal allergic reactions. She is really, severely, ill and has never left her house for seventeen years.
Only two people in the world come into contact with her – her mother and her nurse, Carla. Her father and her brother died in a traffic accident when she was very little and she’s been leading a monotonous, yet good life with her mother ever since.
Until, a family moves in next door.
The boy, Olly has some very intriguing quality and catches Maddy’s attention right from the start – he’s always dressed in BLACK. Black pants, black T-shirt and black cap, covering himself completely with black and something about him – the quirky movements he made when he first moved in his new house in particular – grabs Maddy’s attention. And their eyes meet. A decisive moment that changes the course of their lives
Although they cannot communicate face-to-face because of Maddy’s condition, they come up with other ways to hang out –Emails, Instant Messages, or even directly write on the windowpane. They instantly hit it off with each other and such interactions gradually make Maddy want to know Olly more and more – and see the world outside her house, a feeling she has never felt in her entire life.
Basically, this book is full of sweet, whimsical moments and twists thus it is recommended to dive right in without knowing much about the synopsis and see what happens with your own two eyes.
The way the story is told is quite interesting and unique. It is narrated in a very unconventional way, employing various formats. It’s got Emails, IMs, and a lot of interesting and cute graphics and they reflect Maddy’s unique, winsome character very well.
The writing is also beautiful, whimsical and lyrical. Although it’s written in very simple sentences, sometimes short sentences, It has very literary quality which is kind of reminiscent of Classic literature.
The style is what I find most scintillating. Rather than weaving long sentences to express Maddy’s feelings, Nicola Yoon chops up the sentence in small bits and just throws them out. Those sentences beautifully and surprisingly directly reflect Maddy’s feelings and emotions and sank in on me very naturally without a hitch and then hit me right at my heart. It was really well done.
The cast of characters is also amazing. Particularly Olly is just lovable and as he says so himself, he is sexy! And gentle. He doesn’t come across as a red-blooded adolescent; he really cares about Maddy and understands they need to take their time instead of rushing things in the heat of passion. I really like him, something special about him tugged at my heartstrings.
It may come from the family issues that Olly has been going through, casting a dark shadow onto his character and adding some depths into the story. Although it doesn’t show outwardly at a first glance, but he has been mentally bruised by such issues, and witnessing what exactly he has gone through affects Maddy so strongly and drives her to risking everything she has, makes her want to be with Olly by even risking her own life.
My heart was literally screaming; what are you doing??!!
But at the same time, that dramatic effect pulled me into the story even more and made me wanted to keep turning pages and see what happens, how they both end up.
The twist that’s in store later in the story came totally unexpected and after an initial, momentary shock, I started feeling quite frustrated and infuriated –I was talking to myself out loud, “What the heck?!” It made me so mad that I was all up for condoning what Maddy does to one particular character from then onwards. I have never felt so infuriated over a book. The anger literally consumed me.
That said, the story does end on a positive, uplifting note.
I was positively appalled and delighted to read the last page. The closing is just clever, beautifully tying everything into one. It made me smile and filled me with a warm feeling. It was simply beautiful. Some may find a bit lackluster, but I found it clever considering what’s in the first few pages in the book.
I am so glad that I finally read this book. It totally lives up to the hype for me.
I highly recommend that you pick it up.