A huge thanks to Random House Children's & Netgalley for allowing me to review this book. All opinions are my own!
You can get your own copy September 1st!
Madeline Whittier has lived her entire life inside of her house due to a rare disease (SCIDS) that causes her immune system to be extremely weak and causes her to react badly to virtually everything. Inside of her house with a specialized air filter, she lives her life ordering all of her needs online and from there they are disinfected and sealed air tight. She's never wanted anything more...until new neighbors move in next door. That's when she sees Olly for the first time, and her world opens up into a new perspective.
Before I even begin reviewing the content of this book, I'd like to mention the BEAUTIFUL cover. And the title? GENIUS. As you go through life, everything changes and I really do believe that is one of the most important parts of growing up. To be under 'house arrest' your entire life prevents you from living. Mrs.Yoon did such an amazing job on this novel.
Now, for the part you're all here to read. Once you crack open this book, you'll quickly find that it's not only a book, but someone's life. I know, I know. That's almost every book's aim, to follow someone's life as it changes and to show how the character grows over time. However, I don't think you'll find an example better than in this book. Madeline has literally spent her last 18 years of life home bound. You often hear people complain that they want to go home but what if that was the ONLY place you could go? You'd be quick to change your mind.
Being home at all times with only your mom and home nurse as company, you would think that one would quickly spiral into a deep depression. This miraculously doesn't happen. Our MC Is an exceptional female character who strives to only see the best in everything. I do think this contributes to her never experiencing anything truly bad in her life (that she remembers, at least) and so she automatically assumes that there is nothing she should think of as sad. (For example, being stuck in her house 24/7 with no real human interactions.) I wish I could remain as optimistic as Madeline but life doesn't always allow that.
What's odd is in the beginning and for most of the middle of this book, Madeline had me completely fooled that her interactions were good enough and was enough to get her through her entire life. Friday dinners, movie nights, and occasional (more like rare!) visits from her online teachers. I feel like she coped with the lack of humans (that brings emotions, tension in the air, etc.) by spending all of her time reading and doing school work. She had MANY school projects and it was filler time until she slept or had another scheduled activity.
What do you mean I'm writing a whole area of Olly? Whaaat? But in all seriousness, Olly is perfection. He's been put in a horrible position and yet is still so sweet and sensitive towards other people. I loved his personality and how he didn't push things when the situation didn't call for it. While I feel it was a bit insta-lovey, in this case I found it was completely acceptable. Though, I AM left with questions about his life before he showed up in Cali. He said he'd been in love before, but not the same way it was with Maddy. GIMME MORE! Maybe we will get a novella of his life before? ;D
QUALITY OF LIFE
Yes, this is an odd category. Yes, it is something that people tend to overlook. Let's talk about it. You go about your daily schedule and whether that involves school,work, or other activities, there is normally at least some amount of choice in your day. And do you know what happens when we choose? We are happy. Not only happy, but living.
This book brought up something so important that I can't NOT mention it. To live and to be happy are not the same. You can be happy but that doesn't mean that inside you are content with everything in your life. Never settle for anything less than your dreams. Again, Nicola Yoon brings up valuable life lessons.
~Please keep in mind that this is an ARC and that these quotes may be changed in the final edition~
This book had so many wonderful quotes that I have to share my favorites.
** "You can find the meaning of life in a book."
** "I am not lonely, Mom." I snap. "I am alone. Those are different things.""
** "Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite books come back to life."
** "Sometimes you fall off prematurely. Sometimes you get so damaged by other pieces of luggage falling on your head that you don't really function anymore. Sometimes you get lost or forgotten and go around forever and ever."
**If you have heard hype surrounding this book and are wary of purchasing it, I would recommend that you do. This book has ups and downs but is simply beautiful and makes you appreciate the little things. This comes out on September 1st. Get your own copy, you won't regret it!**