I think the mistake I made with this book is that I read Holding Up the Universe first and really enjoyed it. Then I went straight on to this one and it fell a little short. Not because it’s not a good book but just because I got a little fed up of kids with things wrong with them who then fall in love with someone who also had something wrong with them. Why can’t people just fall in love….
Moving on… Madeline has this thing called Severe Combine ImmunoDeficiency or SCID which means that she can’t leave the house because she is super allergic to everything and it could kill her. Her house has been specially adapted so that anyone coming in has to go through a special airlock and be screened. She lives with her mum, who is a doctor, and a nurse who comes in every day called Carla. Her dad and her brother were killed in a car crash and her mum is a little over protective (another helicopter parent).
One day she hears moving vans and, when she looks out the window sees that a new family have moved in next door. One of them happens to be a boy called Olly, who is easy on the eye, really good at climbing things (parkour) and always wears black. He has the room across the way from her and they start communicating. He sends her his email address and they start to IM. A relationship develops and eventually they persuade Carla to let him in the house. He has problems with his dad, who is a drunk and beats his mum up.
This is where things start to unravel and I’m not going to tell you too much more after this point because it will spoil the story. Needless to say, all is not as it seems. The ending was a little unsatisfactory as I wanted to know more about what happened. It is cleverly written and I liked the use of notes, emails and quick chapters. It makes the book go really quickly and you will finish it in no time. Sometimes that’s nice and satisfying!
I also liked the characters. Madeline wasn’t too whiny and Olly was a nice boy who you would like to have as your boyfriend (if you were 18) and I hope that his life is improved by meeting Madeline. All in all, a good debut novel but I can’t wait to read The Sun is also a Star (Nicola Yoon’s new book) and see if it is any better. A nice romantic book with a twist and I suspect, the start of some good things to come.