Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Because You'll Never Meet Me

Because You'll Never Meet Me
Leah Thomas
June 2, 2015

"Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz's weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die. Living as recluses 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. But when Moritz reveals the key to their shared, sinister past that began years ago in a mysterious German laboratory, their friendship faces a test neither one of them expected. Narrated in letter form by Ollie and Moritz - two extraordinary new voices - this story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances blends elements of science fiction with coming of age themes, in a humorous, dark, and ultimately inspiring tale that is completely unforgettable."

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First, I need to say a Thing. My latest pet peeve is when a blurb gives away the whole freaking book. See above. I mean, why even bother reading it when you've just told me everything that happens? Grrr. The publisher's intro that came with this ARC describes Because You'll Never Meet Me as a bromance for the ages, which...ok, for the sake of this review I will not go on my usual rant about why bromance is an inherently problematic (and sexist) term. I hear you getting ready to comment. Two guys are best friends? Bromance! We need a special term to encapsulate how special this is! Two women? ...oh that's just normal friendship. Yeah. Anyway, I will ignore that word for the rest of this review and focus on the actual story.

I was really excited to read this novel, because the premise is so intriguing - two best friends who would kill each other if they ever met. Ollie and Moritz have very distinctive voices, and their relationship develops realistically yet completely. Reserved Moritz is initially repulsed by erratic Ollie, yet the two come to rely on each other. Their friendship and letters were so representative of their respective characters, and I enjoyed the culture clash as well. There were moments when I couldn't help but laugh aloud (Moritz rapping in a coffee shop, amazing!), and moments when I was close to tears. Leah Thomas explores so many themes in such a true fashion - painful first loves, familial ties, and the isolation (both physical and mental) that comes from being different.

Anyone who knows German will figure out the "big reveal" but it's honestly not going to ruin your reading experience. There's definitely a point where things take a slightly...creepy X-Men turn which threw me off a bit because I did not expect anything crazy enough for the reader to suspend belief. This book is marketed, or at least I interpreted it to be, as a contemporary YA novel, although now I realize we should pay more attention to the "blends elements of science fiction" comment from the blurb-that-makes-the-book-redundant above. My biggest issue, however, was that the final resolution felt a bit...obvious, or at least I wondered why it wasn't considered sooner for such an easy fix.

That being said, Because You'll Never Meet Me was such an enjoyable read. I loved Ollie and Moritz's friendship, and that this book gave a voice (or two) to those not always represented in YA - the disabled, LGBTQ teens, etc. - and still felt real. I definitely recommend this if you're looking for an unique book: I've never read anything quite like this, and it was great. BYNMM comes out June 2, 2015 - so check out your local bookstore and pick up a copy!

I also read this whilst listening to the Spring Awakening Broadway soundtrack. His name is Moritz, I couldn't help myself.

Goodreads Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

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