Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book review - Because You'll Never Meet Me

Title: Because You'll Never Meet Me
Author: Leah Thomas
Genre: mild sci-fi/realistic fiction
Similar books: Noggin by John Corey Whaley
                     Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
pretty compelling reading

Summary: Ollie and Moritz can never meet. Ollie is something of a hermit, restricted to a rustic cabin in the woods due to a severe electricity allergy. Moritz is kept alive by a pacemaker. A meeting would prove deadly for both of them. Through a series of poignant letters, Ollie and Moritz work through intense loneliness, bullying, and a dark past that connects them. 

My opinion: What stands out most for me about this book is the narrative structure. At first, it just seems like two boys writing letters. Ollie's are exuberant, filled with sidebars, enthusiastic description, and unfettered positivity. Moritz's are sparse, precise, almost dour. As we read, we realize not only do their letter styles reflect their personalities, they change. Ollie's letters lose their enthusiasm and length so gradually that we don't notice it until they nearly match the tone of Moritz's first letter. Meanwhile, Moritz's letters slowly gain enthusiasm, positivity, and detail. This juxtaposition is masterful and a delight to read. Even the names they call each other and their salutations reflect their changing mindsets. The odd nature of the plot will not appeal to all readers but if you're willing to go in with an open mind you'll find this novel well worth the effort.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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