Madeline Whittier has to watch the world from the inside of a bubble—literally. Her diagnosed condition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a life sentence that limits her to a world of two people: her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse. Everything changes when Olly and his family move into the house next door. Olly is the kind of inventive guy who figures out a way to communicate with Madeline, and over the course of the next few months Madeline becomes Maddy, a young woman who takes potentially deadly risks to protect Olly emotionally, if not physically.
Madeline is as content with her life as she could be. She isn’t allowed outside, she’s never been outside. Despite that, she mostly is happy with her life and her insulated world. That all changes when Olly and his family move next door. What starts as a brief conversation turns into a wonderful love story. Madeline is a great heroine. She doesn’t get too angry over her fate too much, choosing to see the good things in her world instead of all the bad. Her perspective definitely got me thinking about how I view my chronic ailments.
When a new family moves next door, Madeline tries not to be interested, not to be attached. She didn’t count on Olly. Olly barrels into her life and makes her start wanting things she’s never wanted before. Olly has demons of his own and their connection is immediate. He handles her illness surprisingly well. Because of Olly, Madeline starts wanting more and takes a very drastic risk in her desire to be normal.
There aren’t many adults in this book. We see the most of Madeline’s mom and her nurse, both who are very different. Her Mom also happens to be her doctor and is very protective of Madeline. Her nurse feels she should have a little more freedom and allows Madeline a little more leeway in her actions.
The twist at the end was completely and utterly unexpected. I can’t talk much about it without spoiling what happens, but it was definitely a shocker!