Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Title: Because You'll Never Meet Me
Author: Leah Thomas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Release Date: July 2, 2015
Source: ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks Bloomsbury!)

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


There is a lot to like about Because You'll Never Meet Me - most notably the voices of the two main characters, Ollie and Moritz. When we first meet Ollie, he is so full of energy and light that you can't help but smile. And there were a few times that he even made me laugh out loud which immediately made me like him. I can see why someone would compare him to Mim from Mosquitoland (although he's not quite on that level of awesome). Moritz on the other hand was the exact opposite - morose and even a little hostile. But it wasn't long before Ollie broke down his walls and Moritz started to open up.

Neither boy is living a normal life. Ollie is allergic to electricity and therefore, is confined to a cabin out in the woods. And Moritz was born without eyes and sees by way of echolocation (using sound waves to determine shapes of objects). As a result, both boys are struggling with their existence. Ollie is grieving the loss of his friend Liz - who no longer comes to visit due to an incident that readers slowly learn of - and Ollie sinks deeper and deeper into despair and self-pity. Meanwhile, Moritz is suffering at the hands of a school bully and feels like the freak of his high school. Over the course of writing to each other, Ollie and Moritz inspire one another to change the course of their lives and lift one another up when they need it the most. They listened to each other and gave each other some hard but necessary advice. The bond that they formed turned out to be something really special. But the growth and character arc of each of these characters was what was truly remarkable.

Unfortunately though, while I appreciated the story, it didn't ever really pull me in. Even though I sympathized with both Ollie and Moritz I never really connected with either one of them to feel their pain on a deeper level. It also threw me for loop when this book turned more Science Fiction than Contemporary - Ollie and Moritz are connected by a laboratory that used to experiment with genetic mutation to cure disease. I think this entire story  was a little too far-fetched for it to make much of an impact on me.

But my feelings are my own, and the heart of this story is really quite beautiful. If you are a fan of the unusual and strong characterization, then I think you should give this book a read!

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