My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Author: Nicola Yoon | Series: None | Format: Audiobook | Narrated by: Bahni Turpin & Robbie Daymond | Length: 6 hours, 45 mins | Publish Date: September 1, 2015 | Genre: YA Contemporary | Literary Awards: Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults (2017), Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee (2018), Soaring Eagle Book Award (2016), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2017), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Nominee for Preis der Jugendjury (2016)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Debut Goodreads Author, and for Young Adult Fiction (2015), Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2017) | Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ | Recommend: Yes
“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”
I don’t understand how some people don’t like this book, honestly. I really loved it, even if it wasn’t the most perfect YA Contemporary book I’ve ever read or ever will read. I loved how it ended, I loved how it began, I loved almost everything in between.
For one thing, the main character is part African-American and part Japanese, just like me! I think this is the first ever book that I’ve read where the main character is literally me! That already made me give many kudo points to this book. She probably doesn’t even look like it, which I know I don’t because people never believe me when I say that I’m part Japanese among other ethnicities in my mix. It’s like they think I’m lying or something. Um, have you seen my mom? Yeah, that’s where I get the Japanese from, so yeah. Let’s not tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about?
Mini rant over.
The difference between me and Maddy is that she has grown up without stepping foot outside of her house once her mother found out that she was basically allergic to the world: SCID. Could you imagine your life if you had the same kind of SCID that Maddy has? Not being able to leave your house without the possibility that anything could end up killing you? How would you go on with your life knowing that the entire world is out there, but you can only see it from the safety of your own house, and never in person? Doesn’t sound very fun, does it? Sure, there are books that you could read, which take you to so many other worlds that we can only begin to dream of, but pretty soon that won’t be enough.
Now imagine living that life for seventeen years.
That’s Maddie, and while it seems like she’s coping well, there’s always the dreams that she has. What if she wasn’t sick? What if she could go to a regular school with regular kids? What if she could go to Hawaii and see the state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a? (Also, hello?! I’m from Hawaii and I instantly got homesick reading about my home in this book.) What if she could walk outside her door without worrying about almost dying, or worse?
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
Then enters Olly and his family, who end up moving right next door to Maddy and her mom. From there, the potential of new friendship blooms and possibly more. Can one person entering Maddy’s life be the reason she may end up risking everything?
There was a certain part of this book that I was so upset about (can’t say since it’s a spoiler and not everyone has watched the movie – like myself!) and it really hurt me. But after knowing exactly what happened in the past to the rest of Maddy’s family, it makes sense to me. I understand what happened, and while I don’t condone it, I understand it. This book has a young eighteen-year-old girl ready to take on everything that used to scare her before, and it makes me wonder why I can’t have her determination? Why can’t I have her drive?
I think I will remember this book for a long time. I’d love to read more books from Nicola Yoon to see what other kinds of stories she can come up with. I really enjoyed listening to Maddie’s mind and seeing the way she reacts to her little slice in the world.