Heads up! This is a book review, thus there will be spoilers for thosse who havent’ read the book, and for those who are in the process of reading it.
Windows. That’s all Madeline looks through. She has never stepped foot outside her home. Never felt grass under her feet. Never felt a summer breeze, nor the tickle of snowflake melting on her tounge.
Madeline is sick, that’s all she knows. She has spent her whole life, 18 years, living in a bubble. Her nurse Carla is the only friend she has other than her mother, who’s also her doctor. Every day is the same, wake up, three meals, two snacks, read a couple books, online classes, sleep, and repeat.
Her life changes when a new family moves in next door to her. She watches them safely from behind glass. His name is Olly. He makes her curious. Curious about everything she has never had. He sees her. He grows curious too. Their bedrooms face eachother.
Similar to a Taylor Swift music video, they get to know eachother by writing on their windows.
He gives her his email.
They grow closer.
He visits her. Only after being disenfected for three hours. A couple visits later. They kiss. She forgets the reins on her body. She is healthy in a new way.
Her mother finds out and bans her from talking to him. But love always finds a way. Her mother tells her that it’s not love. She accuses Maddy of not kowing what love is. But love is in everyone’s hearts. We are all born with the ability to love, it only takes the right person to unlock it. Olly is the key to Maddy’s heart.
Olly goes back to school. Maddy becomes aware of the love she will never have. She frees Olly, but he wants to be with her.
She watches him from her window. His father, drunk and abusive to his wife. Olly physically defensive. His sister, emotionally distant. Maddy yearns to comfort the only love she’s ever been had.
One night, a fight, she watches. 1am, she sits still in front of her window, forhead pushed against the glass. Watching the tension build, unfold, and then build again. Olly left shattered.
She runs. Opens the door, to his back yard. Up the ladder. Behind him. His eyes in shock, but with yearning. They run away together. For two days, to Hawaii. Maddy had everything planned. Tickets, hotel, transportation. It’s the best days of their lives.
On the second day, Maddy’s body fails her. Rushed to the hospital and then flown back home. She barely makes it back alive. Olly is devestated. But truly cares for her and refuses to let her push him away. But she does, for 5 months.
She falls back into her normal routine. Tedious, boring, but safe. Who wants to live a life like that?
An email from an angel. From a doctor who helped her in Hawaii. Says that maddy has been misinformed. That she is not sick and has, in fact, never ever been sick! She advises Maddy to check with another doctor other than her mother. Apparently her mother has never recovered from the death of her son and husband when Maddy was only a baby.
She has been lied to her whole life. Now what? Her new doctor tells her to be careful. Her immune system is as weak as an infant’s.
She contacts Olly. After confronting his father. He and his mother and sister had moved away. Now they live in New York.
The books ends with Maddy flying out to New York to see Olly. They meet up in a book store, and we are left with the scene of them walking towards eachother with love in eachothers eyes.
So, what did you think of this story? I found it appaling and heart quenching. Can you imagine being in Madeline’s shoes? Let’s chat in the comments!