By: Nicola Yoon
Synopsis: Madeline has been trapped within the walls of her house her whole life. Her rare disorder prevents her from leaving the safety of her home. The only human contact she has consists of her nurse Carla and her mother. Madeline was okay with this life. That is until the new boy moves in next door. Olly is exciting and unpredictable. Maddy is intrigued by Olly and starts to wonder if she’s missing out on life.
So, I’m going to be honest here. I picked up this book just because of the hype surrounding it on bookstagram. Which in part was because of the cover. Let’s be real this was essentially a case of judging a book by the cover. My hopes were not high at all. This ultimately helped when I read the novel. I didn’t hold it to such high expectations. So, what was my verdict? Eh, it was okay.
This book was a cute and quick read. I can be reluctant to pick up contemporary novels. Many times the plot lines are over complicated and underdeveloped. I would rather either a plot driven novel or a character/relationship driven novel. Unfortunately, I felt that this novel fell somewhere in between and did not really excel at either.
The characters were cute and quirky. Olly was charming while Madeline was sweet and could be clever. However, they seemed to lack real depth of character. I knew the stereotypes they were meant to represent. But, I didn’t see much outside of those stereotypes. I started to like them but never really felt connected to them. I would have preferred to learn more about who they were and their motivations. Instead, I got a very quick plotline that I felt could have been explored more.
Overall, the book was pleasant. I enjoyed reading it. It’s not my favorite book ever but I did find it to be a fun read. I’d like to check out more of Nicola Yoon’s novels in the future especially her next novel, The Sun Is Also a Star. It was a good first novel and I think Yoon could be an author with as huge following in the future. In the meantime I’m excited to see her writing and fan base grow.
*Stop reading here to avoid spoilers:
The ending. What can I say about the last 1/4th of this book? First of all, I will say I liked the idea of the plot twist at the end of this novel. The idea that this was essentially a case Munchausen syndrome by proxy was intriguing and exciting. That could go so far and really take the book to another level! However, it didn’t really turn out that way. I don’t think there was enough time in the novel left to fully flush out the story line. I wanted more background and more of a slow burn. I just think that the plot progressed too quickly to really have the desired effect.
Similarly, I prefer a slow burn when reading about the development of a relationship. I like the awkward in between moments because they’re endearing. But that’s just me. This novel didn’t have enough of that for me. The relationship didn’t have room to grow organically. This may be simply because the element of the illness prohibited a lot of interaction or this may be just a preference of the author.
Have you picked up this book? Are you going to? Let me know in the comments below!