Madeline is 18 years old and lives in a bubble. Literally. She has an auto-immune disease and has spent her entire life in a germ-free environment. Her house has an air lock and a decontamination chamber. She takes classes via Skype and her only companions are her mother and her nurse, Carla.
Olly moves in next door and immediately becomes an obsession for Maddy. He’s handsome and full of energy. He’s funny and wants to know more about her, and soon they find themselves chatting online into the wee hours of the night.
Of course, Maddy and Olly finally meet and sparks fly and then…well, how can you have a teenage romance when one of you lives in a bubble? And you can’t hold hands or kiss or really spend any time at all with each other?
This book had a lot of things I liked.
I loved the breezy narration style. I think it took me two hours to read the whole thing. There were cute little illustrations and IM chat transcripts in the text that made the story fly by.
I loved how this was pretty much the story of modern day Romeo and Juliet — two young people who simply can’t be together, both with tragic backgrounds, but will do whatever it takes to love each other, even if it means they could die.
I loved Carla. She was pretty much the only sensible adult in the whole story. I loved that she was a real friend to Maddy, no matter how she felt about some of the choices Maddy was making.
But there were also a few things I didn’t like.
SPOILERS ARE HERE. SERIOUSLY. LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
I knew what was going to happen at the end on the very first page. It was just too obvious. That kind of bummed me out. The single black page about 2/3 of the way through didn’t fool me at all.
I also got really annoyed at Maddy’s mom for not getting into more trouble for her actions. I don’t know much about situations involving Munchausen by Proxy (which isn’t exactly what’s going on here, but is close enough for this review), but I always thought that the parent could potentially be in trouble with the law. Regardless, she was awful and I couldn’t stand her. I’m sorry her family was taken away from her, but please.
And of course, this is a YA romance. You pretty much know how it’s going to end.
I also was annoyed that I couldn’t get this song out of my head when I was reading:
But that’s probably just me.
Anyways. This is a quick, interesting, original (mostly) read. I liked the freshness of Nicola Yoon’s voice, and I’ll keep an eye out for her in the future.