Friday, 26 May 2017

Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Because You'll Never Meet MeOllie 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.

Told in letters between two boys, we slowly get to know Ollie and Moritz as they correspond to remove the boredom and alienation that both of their conditions inspire. For Ollie, he doesn’t have much choice in being alone as he is deathly allergic to electricity and has to live in a cabin the back woods of the Midwest. Meanwhile Moritz lives in Germany and along with having a pacemaker beat his heart for him, he was also born without eyes. I have to say, this is where my heart broke for him, for both of them. Well, the first time my heart broke. 

This was such an incredibly unique story. I immediately fell for Ollie, his upbeat voice and na├»ve enthusiasm for the world he has never seen was contagious. But I think Moritz slowly stole my heart. They were both so different but across their words, they grew such a strong friendship and slowly began to trust each other with secrets they couldn’t bear to say out loud. 

As I said, it was told in letter format, which was an interesting style to read in, not one that is done that often. Also you only get to know what the characters are willing to reveal about themselves but you can infer a lot from context, like the shame Moritz has been carrying around, and how much of Ollie’s humour is a front.

This was such a surprise for me. It was clever and fascinating and even touched on a little sci-fi as Ollie and Moritz realise they are connected in ways they didn’t know. It was completely heart breaking but so damn good.

Published 2nd July 2015 by Bloomsbury.

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