Madeline, at 18, hasn't known life outside her sealed house. She sees her mother, her nurse, and on rare occasions her tutors. She's got Severe Combined Immunodeficienty (SCID), known as "bubble boy disease" starring John Travolta.
Madeline reads a lot, and perhaps because of her potentially limited lifespan, she writes "Life is Short
LORD OF THE FLIES by WILLIAM GOLDING
Spoiler alert: Boys are savages.
And yet, she falls for the first boy she meets. It's more or less love at first sight between her and the boy next store, a kid with his own problems (attractiveness is not one of his challenges).
Despite her lack of contact with contemporaries, Madeline is a good banterer. Or maybe she's just weird.
"So, why outer space first?" he asks.
I shrug. "I want to see the world, I guess."
I think she's funny and smart, and yeah, probably a little weird, which is only fair. Isn't "outer space" a remarkable response to "Where do you want to go the most" when you haven't been anywhere but your house in your whole remembered life?
The writing is solid, with descriptions like "My mom is meticulous and extravagant in her record keeping."
There are drawings, provided by Yoon's husband, David Yoon. I like the diagrams and assignments more than the illustrations, but they're all clever and cute.