Title: Because You'll Never Meet Me
Author: Leah Thomas
Release Date: July 2nd, 2015
Goodreads | Book Depository
The first thing I will say about this book is that it is a genre hopper. I went into it thinking it was a classic, heartwarming, contemporary but there are moments where it borders on sci-fi. Whilst this isn't necessarily a problem, it does make you wonder about what in the story is actually realistic. I had assumed that the illnesses the two boys suffer from were realistic but then the genre switches so I'm not entirely sure. That's not to say that this isn't a good book though! I love the idea and the writing is brilliant. I'm just not sure how I feel about the ending but more on that later!
Ollie is a 14 year old American boy who is allergic to electricity. He lives in a cabin in the woods with his mum where he can avoid electrical sources. His doctor puts him in contact with another boy, Moritz, who is a 16 year old German. He was born without any eyes but he can "see" through echolocation. Moritz also has a pacemaker which means that he and Ollie can never meet.
The story is told through their letters which I really enjoyed. We also get to meet other characters through these letters as the boys talk about their pasts and conversations with other people and so on. Both Ollie and Moritz have such distinct voices. Ollie is very talkative and manic and goes off on all kinds of tangents in his letters. Moritz is very solemn in comparison and it takes him a while to really open up. Their character development, where they both mature, grow and become more confident, was a joy to read. I also liked that we have two very different settings as this helps prevent any dullness from creeping in. It was nice to switch between two different narratives as well as settings.
There is a revelation later in the book where the sci-fi begins to creep in. There's science, doctors, laboratories and experiments. It was interesting but not what I was expecting. I don't know if this is a contemporary or a sci-fi. Can it be both? The ending for Ollie in particular feels unrealistic and it surprised me. I've heard that there is going to be a sequel though so I'm interested to know the direction that goes in.
Whilst there is an unexpected plot twist, Because You'll Never Meet Me has a lovely friendship that blossoms throughout the book and that alone made it an enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.