Madeline hasn’t left her house for 17 years and only comes in daily contact with her mother (who is, coincidentally, also her doctor) and her nurse Carla. Madeline suffers from SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease), making her essentially allergic to being outside. As a result, her home is sterile, with a special air filtration system, an air lock at the front door and a decontamination treatment for anyone who needs to visit her. She reads a lot of books and does all of her schooling via Skype. She has made peace with her life as she knows it—until a new family moves in next door.
From her window, Madeline spots Olly, a boy about her age, and he stares back up at her. What starts out as an innocent crush quickly turns into more, as Madeline and Olly communicate through email, instant message and finally, after much cajoling from her nurse, meeting in person. Romance ensues, battles are fought and their love grows stronger.
Nicola Yoon’s debut is unique, starring an interracial couple and featuring hand-drawn illustrations. Readers will root for Madeline as she fights her disease, growing stronger and more confident with Olly’s help. The relationship’s fast pace may lead some readers to question its authenticity, but Yoon expertly handles mature family issues such as trust, love and, most of all, grief. Best suited for older teens, this is a quick summer read for fans of realistic teen fiction centered on romance.