Published by Corgi!
Madeline is allergic to the world. She suffers from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, otherwise known as ‘bubble disease’. Anything and nothing could trigger a bout of sickness, a sickness that could quite easily be fatal. So Maddy is housebound, left with only her books, an alright home schooling gig, her mother (and coincidental doctor), and doting nurse, Carla. Naturally, one day, a family moves in the vacant house next door and turns things a little upside down. Maddy can’t help but obsess over every detail of their day to day lives, nose pressed against the window. And then, of course, because these things can’t really be helped, she falls in love.
I kind of, maybe fell foolishly in love with this book just like Maddy fell in love with Olly and vice versa, so I can’t really help but award it five full, sparkly, very very bright stars. I can say I would have liked the plot twist and unravelling of that to be a little more fleshed out (but then don’t we all want the books that capture our hearts to go on and on for hundreds more pages?) and say that, in that respect, we needed a little bit more. But I loved it. I just loved it. The beautiful, butterfly inducing writing coupled with the simply lovely, original illustrations blew me away and made me feel exactly the way whimsical first loves do. I loved the intelligence and practicality of Madeline juxtaposed by her love of books and words. And then there’s Olly, who my heart completely ached for. In fact, it may or may not have broken a little, because of course his love of Maths comes from a place of feeling like he needs to be pragmatic and not get sucked into ridiculous and unreliable notions of fate and real, incombustible love. He was cheeky and nerdy and delightful, and their IM conversations made my heart sing. I love love loved this book and devoured it much too quickly. I need more of Nicola Yoon pronto. And to travel the world with Maddy so I can see her observe the world for the first time — that I would like very much.