Nicola Yoon. I finished this book last night and I am still out of breath. It was a heart wrenching, exciting book that I didn't want to put down, but at the same time, I didn't want it to end.
Seventeen year old Madeline Whittier doesn't remember ever leaving her house. She has stayed inside, safe from all the viruses and allergens that could quickly result in her death. Her life lines are her mom and her nurse. She is relatively happy and is secure in who she is and doesn't let her illness define her.
Life changes the day a moving van pulls up next door and brings with it seventeen year old Olly, a dark clad boy to whom Maddy is instantly drawn. He opens up to her a world that she has stopped short of imagining.
It's human nature to want things we can't have, but if we've never had them, can we truly miss them. There is lots Maddy hasn't had, though she seems fairly content to stay safe inside. She lives her world through the many books that she reads and rereads. I liked the juxtaposition of Maddy's world and clothing being so white while Olly's is so black, her experiences being so limited and his much vaster, her relationship with her mother so close and his relationship with his parents in tatters.
The illustrations in the book by David Yoon added greatly to my enjoyment. They added more information to the story but they also provided me with breathing room to ponder Maddy's situation. The inclusion of short chapters, sometimes only a sentence, made them more an exclamation that couldn't be ignored.
I loved this book and highly recommend it. And if you want to know why I'll never look at bundt cake the same, you'll have to read the book.
Thanks to Doubleday Books for use of the cover image.