Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

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Because You'll Never Meet by Leah Thomas

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Story of two boys living very isolated lives. Told through letters, this is a highly original and deeply moving story of friendship and otherness.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 140886262X

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Ollie and Moritz can never meet. Because if they did, one of them would almost certainly die. Why? Because Ollie is allergic to electricty and Moritz has an electrical pacemaker inserted in his heart. Ollie spends his life hidden away in a log cabin in the forest - away from all the electricity that sends him into life-threatening seizures - with only his mother and the occasional visit from Dr Auburn-Stache for company. He did also have a friend, Liz, but he lost her a while back. Moritz is equally isolated even though he goes to school. Born without eyes, Moritz "sees" the world through echolocation, like a bat. You might think that's miraculous, but Moritz just thinks it makes him a freak.

The two boys begin a correspondence and gradually open up to one another about their respective pasts. Their friendship grows and grows - but can it withstand the various reveals and the tests that truth throws up?

I had no preconceptions when I picked up You'll Never Meet Me - truth be told, I was way behind on my reviewing schedule and it was the next book on the pile. And I think this lack of expectation really added to my enjoyment. I wasn't anticpating a great read by a favourite author and, while the blurb made the story look interesting, it hadn't stood out particularly. So I was caught entirely unawares by a story that really does stand out from the crowd.

Because You'll Never Meet Me gets off to a slow start but it's a clever slow start. It's genuinely absorbing, as you get to know the two protagonists. Ollie is immediately likeable but Moritz less so, and it's only with a patient unravelling of their back stories - as told through their letters and deepening epistolatory friendship - that you fall in love with them both. By the end, I was rooting for Ollie and Moritz as hard as I've ever rooted for two central characters.

And the book is unusual in so many ways. It's a bit of genre-buster - beginning with the standard teen themes of loneliness and alienation and ending with a bit of sci-fi in the mix. It's the story of a friendship between boys and we have far too few of those. And the very isolation of Ollie and Moritz enables them to be much more open and genuine about their feelings as they develop a bond than many teen boys, handicapped by peer pressure, would ever manage to be.

I shan't lie. The ending seemed a little pat - although I won't spoil it for you. But it's a satisfying ending nonetheless and it's the only tiny nit pick I can think to make.

If you're looking for something fresh and original to read and are bored by all those cookie cutter teen novels on the shelf, take a look at this one. You won't be disappointed.

Another interesting and moving story involving a penpal correspondence is The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins. I think you might also enjoy Ultraviolet by R J Anderson.

My thanks to the good people at XX for sending the book.

Buy Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas at Amazon.com.


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