First Lines: 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.
This is one of those books that when you read the description, you kind of just want to know how this story is going to work. Or maybe that’s just me. I was insanely curious to see how the story played out, like from a writer’s standpoint.
Madeline’s disease has completely transformed her life. She’s allergic to everything; leaving the house could kill her. The only people she sees are her mom and her nurse, Carla. Then, things change when a new family moves in next door. From her window, she watches them live their normal life. But most of her attention is focused on the always black-clad Olly, who is full of energy and humor. As the two strike up a friendship through email, Madeline can’t help but wonder how much her life is going to change…and if she can ever go back to the life she knew before Olly.
The story itself is told slightly different from a normal story. Some of it is told through IMs and Madeline’s scientific journals, but the actual story parts are usually really short chapters. This flew beneath my fingers. I mean, hours after starting it, I was done.
Madeline and Olly were very sweet. It was cute to watch Madeline notice all of Olly’s little habits. Just that alone told me as much about Madeline as it did about Olly. Maddy’s so smart and funny, and it’s kind of heartbreaking to see how much her life has been impacted by her disease. I mean, the girl has never even been in a car (as far as she can remember) because leaving her air-locked home could prove deadly.
The story also incorporates a number of drawings that help show what Maddy is seeing and thinking. Sometimes, I picture says so much more than words can. (Interesting fact: the drawings were done by the author’s husband. #partnership)
What I struggled with was the plot. There’s a twist at the end that I saw coming and it just ruined the book for me. Like, it seemed to undermine and devalue everything that had come before it. Some people really liked this part, but it so did not work for me. It was a let-down.
I felt that there was so much else this book could have done, especially in the last quarter, that it just didn’t. Was it entertaining? Yes. But it did not live up to the expectations I’d had based on the rave reviews I’d seen of this book. That was disappointing for me.