“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”
SCID – Bubble boy disease. John Travolta was in a movie about it in the 70’s. It’s a group of immune disorders that mean you have to live your life isolated – shut away from society – if you want to live your life at all. That’s where 18-year-old Madeline has lived her life – inside of a sanitized bubble, with little to no contact with the outside world.
“What would happen if you went outside?”
“My head would explode. Or my lungs. Or my heart.”
“How can you joke…?”
I shrug. “How can I not? Besides, I try not to want things I can’t have.”
Her life is her books, her mom, her nurse that comes every day… and an online world where she can go to school and keeps a blog and chats. Then a new boy moves in next door, and she’s fascinated – watching him from her windows, until she notices him watching her back.
They soon make a connection, chatting online, and it’s very sweet to watch their friendship develop into more. I don’t usually like YA focused romances – reading them makes me feel creepy and old, hah! – but not here. It’s just too innocent and adorable. Especially their online chats.
Olly: jesus. is there a girl on this planet who doesn’t love mr.darcy
Madeline: All girls love Mr. Darcy?
Olly: are you kidding? even my sister loves darcy and she doesn’t love anybody
Madeline: She must love somebody. I’m sure she loves you
Olly: what’s so great about darcy?
Madeline: That’s not a serious question
Olly: he’s a snob
Madeline: But he overcomes it and eventually realizes that character matters more than class! He’s a man open to learning life’s lessons! Also, he’s completely gorgeous and noble and brooding and poetic. Did I mention gorgeous? Also, he loves Elizabeth beyond all reason.
When Madeline convinces her nurse to allow Olly to start visiting her, her world starts expanding. And once that starts, she doesn’t want it to stop, and starts taking the kinds of risks only teenagers can justify.
I know some people really don’t like the “big twist” in this book, but I really did. I suspected it early on, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. To me it was a huge relief. I liked the plot progression and really liked the character development throughout the book, right through to the ending. I liked the strength that grew within Madeline, and how she needed to figure out how to define her own life instead of always having others define it for her.
This is an interesting coming-of-age novel with a twist. It’s a sweet little break from heavier books if you’re looking for some fluffy, light drama.