I thought Because You’ll Never Meet Me was a very sweet book. It’s about friendship and finding someone who might be able to understand a little of what you’re going through when you feel like you’re all on your own. Ollie and Moritz have both had their life-experiences limited by their respective conditions and they both blossom when they find each other. There’s some romance in it, but the romance is mostly about the difficulties of having a romantic interest when the odds are stacked so high against you.
The book is epistolary, laid out as letters exchanged between Ollie and Moritz, the two main characters. Leah Thomas has done a great job of giving their dual POVs very distinct voices - on the one hand you have Moritz, a dour, unhappy German boy and on the other you have Ollie, a slightly manic, isolated American boy, who kind of sounds like my friend’s Labrador would sound, if he (the lab) had sufficiently developed vocal chords. The two voices both took some getting used to, partly because they’re so different and partly because Ollie is so very manic at the beginning, but once I’d adjusted and Ollie had calmed down a bit, their two voices really worked.
Although the letters are exchanged solely between Ollie and Moritz, the surrounding characters have their own distinct voices too. I really liked Fieke and Liz seemed very savvy and really challenged Ollie as a friend.
The book was slightly sci-fi and deals with the contrast of having a limiting condition (like Ollie’s electricity-induced epilepsy and Moritz’s blindness) but at the same time a super skill (Ollie’s control of electricity and Moritz’s echolocation). In addition to this, the book also deals with ‘real world’ subjects like bullying and how we treat people who are different to us in a sensitive way.
While the plot was interesting and I enjoyed finding out about the boys’ pasts and how they were trying to adapt to their lives in their own ways, for me, the pace was a bit too slow and not enough happened to keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I’m usually drawn to faster-paced novels though, so while this didn’t work for me, I’m sure others would find it not a problem.
All in all, this was an interesting read with some really great characterisation, and while the plot was too slow for me I think there are a lot of other readers who would find it spot on.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley.