Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.
A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.


Publishes in US: July 2nd 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's Books 
Genre: ya contemp
Source : Bloomsbury
Series? no

Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository Barnes and Noble

Author stalk away: ~twitter


    I wanted to read Because You'll Never Meet Me because I like books about teens dealing with tough issues, and both of their medical issues definitely got my attention. I haven't really heard of being allergic to electricity, and of course the one with the heart that is kept beating by an electric pacemaker would be the one to connect the deepest. 

    I didn't realize when I added to wish list or when I received it that it was written in letter format. I normally shy away from non-traditional formats, but I am so glad that I gave it a try. At first, I didn't like it, but I was so intrigued by the characters that I kept reading, and soon I didn't notice a whole lot the format, but rather their voices. 

    This is a book about friendship and I loved that. The publicist in the beginning of the advanced copy mentions bromance and it really does fit this so well, even though the term is used a lot. Ollie and Moritz are so different, Ollie is talkative and outgoing and he hides his pain while Moritz is pessimistic, and he hides from bullies. 

   They are both extraordinarily smart, and their handicaps have limited them in some ways, but made them stronger in others. Ollie is pretty isolated since he can't be around electricity, he and his mom live out in the woods, and his doctor makes house calls. The only person he sees his age is Liz, a girl who used to visit, and since she is now busy and not visiting much, he acutely feels her absence. Moritz uses his senses, sort of like how bats see since he doesn't have eyes, to help him get around. And that has made him stick out a lot in his school. No one understands, but he does have a few bullies. He ends up using a cane for blind people because the school insists with his disability. 

    Ollie and Moritz teach each other a lot. They both are missing out on things that normal teens take for granted, but they both have things that are enhanced because of it, and the other really helps them to appreciate it. 

    Ollie does have a conspiracy theory, that they were experimented on in a lab, and that he and electricity are repulsed rather than him being allergic. I couldn't tell how much of this was bordering on magical realism, or just a kid with too much time on his hands and a huge imagination. 

    Oh, I loved the secondary characters of Fieke and Owen. Owen's story caught me by surprise and I have no idea why. He fits right in with Ollie and Moritz and I wish somehow Ollie could come and actually be in person with the new people in Moritz life, because they would make an awesome group. 

     The story did begin to go in a way that was more scifi than anything else, and I missed the origins of the characters without that element. But I did like the growth in the characters and them facing their fears, and figuring out how life is going to work for them. 

Bottom Line: Worthwhile read.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
What would you miss the most if you were allergic to electricity?

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