What: Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Who: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
When: July 2nd 2015
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bloomsbury Australia for review.
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.
I wasn’t sold on Because You’ll Never Meet Me when I started reading it. At about 60 pages, I was thoroughly unsure about it. And then my attitude changed. From about 100 pages on, I was completely captivated. I fell in love with the characters, and their stories. I devoured it.
I don’t know exactly what changed. But something did. Perhaps because my headcanon, created before I even read the book, came halfway true? Also, my headcanon would be that the two boys would fall in love.
I LOVED this book, okay? I finished it, and had that EURGH happy feeling that’s also accompanied with a sad IT’S OVER feeling. BUT I just saw that a sequel is coming perhaps two years in the future? (TWO FECKING YEARS? I SHALL NOT SURVIVE THIS TORTUROUS TIME). I love Ollie. I love Moritz more. But I really loved these two characters.
I think the best part of this aspect (besides that one letter from Mo to Ollie, which I reread several times because ~feels~) of this book was how the tone changed so gradually that you hardly realise it has until the characters themselves mention it. Ollie starts off as this hyperactive kid, and then in his later letters he is completely devoid of happiness. Mo starts off his letters totally rude and unsharing, and then his later letters are so full of hope and caring for Ollie. It’s beautiful. This progression. I think it is where my love came from.
This book is a little strange. But I myself am a little strange, so the strange things were perhaps not so strange to me as they have been to other people. Some have described this book as sci-fi. However, I stand by my classification of contemporary. Sure, it may stretch science a little bit but science is HUGE. Science is pretty much INDEFINABLE. So to say what is real and what is not would mean that someone is somehow all-knowing of science and genetics. Which is impossible. What IS possible, however, are the events in this book. Because who really knows?
I was rooting for the boys the whole time I was reading Because You’ll Never Meet Me. I wanted them to get their shit together and live happily ever after (I also wanted them to get together but I guess I don’t get everything I want). I wanted Ollie to be able to watch a movie with Liz. I wanted Mo to go to school without being crippled by fear. I wanted them to meet.
I am actually really glad that there were no dates on the letters, because it makes this book so much more universal. I mean, there’s really nothing specific enough in this book that wouldn’t make it relatable and readable in ten years time. I think that is all kinds of awesome.
In short: I adored this book. The characters nestled into my heart. The story was intriguing. The ending was beautiful.
© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
the boys’ top five quotes to live by
As part of the Because You’ll Never Meet Me blog tour, I got to ask Leah for a “top five” topic. I chose “top five quotes to live by” because you all know how much I love my quotes! Leah has chosen two quotes for Moritz, and two for Ollie, and one from the both of them (which I think is adorable). So, without further ado:
“He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.” – Bertholt Brecht
Moritz: I am rarely laughing; I hear everything.
Ollie: You haven’t heard enough of my jokes, I guess!
Moritz: I disagree.
Ollie: Knock, knock!
Moritz: Stop it.
“But now I wonder how some people never know
The enemy could be their friend, guardian.
The minute they see me: fear me.
I’m the epitome of public enemy.”
Moritz: This is self-explanatory.
Ollie: I’m your friend. Does that mean I’m your enemy? Dark, Moritz.
Moritz: Do not needle me about it.
“The problem with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and putting things in it.” – Terry Pratchett
Ollie: It’s really hard to pick just one Terry Pratchett quote! It’s like picking between, I dunno. Newborn kittens!
Moritz: Surely there is no litter of kittens 100,000 strong. That’s the wordcount of a manuscript…
Ollie: Oh, Moritz, stop being so abstract! You’ll go giving me ideas!
Moritz: Close your bloody mind, then.
Ollie: Nah. Hey, newborn kittens don’t have eyes, Moritz.
Moritz: They do. They’re simply closed.
Ollie: You just don’t like that I’ve compared you to kittens. That’s very catlike of you. Ha!
Moritz: I am hissing.
“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” – Albus Dumbledore
Ollie: Profound. Yes, so profound.
Ollie: What, no comment? You agree? SO PROFOUND, right?
Moritz: It’s silly. But even I dare not refute Dumbledore.
Ollie: I knew I liked you!
Moritz: Be quiet.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
Moritz: Now this is actually profound.
Ollie: Aw, Mo! Are you looking at the stars?
Moritz: I’ve never seen stars. I never shall. I can’t hear the sky, can I.
Ollie: Moritz, that’s so sad, man. So why did you pick the quote?
Moritz: …I think I’ve you’ve taught me to, ah, look for the stars nearer by.
Ollie: Wow, Moritz. You’re a poet and you didn’t know it!
Moritz: And you are a murderer of moments, Oliver Paulot. But thank you.
follow the tour