Thursday, June 4, 2015

Because You'll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas

How can two people be best friends when they've never met, never spoken on the phone, never skyped or texted or even Facebooked each other? 

Ollie has life-threatening seizures when near electricity. He lives with his mother in a backwoods cabin, far from the modern-day conveniences that could kill him (no TV, computer, phone, lights, or even electrical heat). Despite trying to remain upbeat about his condition, he is lonely. Moritz, born with no eyes and a severe heart defect, needs a pacemaker in order to stay alive.  Bullied at school and friendless, Moritz, too, is lonely. Bottom line: If these boys ever met each other in person (or communicated in the typical ways teens of today communicate), they would both surely die. Yet each craves the sort of companionship they (probably) can't ever have.

Then a doctor who knows both boys suggests they become pen pals, writing to each other the old-fashioned way (pen and paper) and utilizing the postal service (a.k.a. "snail mail") to deliver their letters. Each boy finds in the other what was so sorely missing from his life: A friend. But when things get truly dark and desperate, will these letters be enough to sustain this unusual friendship?  

The concept of Leah Thomas' Because You'll Never Meet Me is intriguing, to say the least. And this is what prompted me to pick it up. Written in alternating viewpoints, each characters' unique voice quickly emerges, and the reader truly gets to know each boy through his letters to the other. Because You'll Never Meet Me is one of those books you just have to keep reading once you pick it up.

The Verdict: Definitely recommended! --AJB

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