We meet 18-year-old Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) and quickly learn about the scary risks and every day challenges of living with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Maddie is a modern-day bubble girl whose virtually non-existent immune system constantly keeps her indoors.
She’s lived her entire life behind the glass walls and windows of her sprawling So-Cal home with her doctor mother (Anika Noni Rose). Her daily nurse, Carla (Ana de la Reguera) and Carla’s daughter are her only visitors. Enduring a de-germifying process before entering the home keeps the traffic down.
Then, Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door. Dressed tellingly in all black, Olly is the sexy bad boy with, what seems to be, a juvenile record and a self-described vice of “petty theft.” But Olly’s patient with Maddy’s restrictions and concerned with what’s best for her first, despite his want to be physically near her.
The audience listens in on Maddy and Olly’s blossoming relationship through on-screen texts and conversations. We’re re reminded what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. What’s not explored, thankfully, by director Stella Meghie is the fact that their courtship is interracial. That point was focused on too heavily in Nicola Yoon’s book.