REVIEW: Because You'll Never Meet Me - Leah Thomas

2/5



Because You'll Never Meet Me tells the story of young teens Ollie and Moritz. Ollie is allergic to electricity and lives in a remote cabin with his mum while Moritz has grown up in a lab, has heart problems and doesn't have any eyes. The pair become pen pals and so the novel is a series of letters that the boys send to one another as they come to understand their identities on a deeper level and delve into what the future will hold for me.

The way that the novel was told in letters was, for me, it's greatest problem. The first few chapters are quite long and consist of rambling thoughts. While they set up the voices of the characters very distinctly, no settings or direct scenes of action are there to grab my attention and I find it a struggle to plough on. Later in the book the boys describe snapshots of their lives to one another but they seem forced and unrealistic for letter writing. Thomas evidently realised she needed some 'real scenes' and stuck these in but they don't really work.

I also felt misled by the cover. The font of the title combined with the shifting colours of the sky in the backdrop reminded me of YA romance so I was surprised to discover how small a role that played in the story. The content of sickness and confusion just didn't match up to the picturesque cover and that tainted my view from the offset.

However, I told myself that if the book had a clever ending, I would reward that in my review. Without spoiling anything, I found that the story wrapped up in an unsatisfactory way which left me feeling a little empty. Nothing much changed across the story and apart from one link between the boys, there wasn't enough revealed. There weren't many surprises or secrets, or anything really to keep me interested.

Saying that, Ollie and Moritz are very detailed characters - I mean, they would be after hundreds of pages in an essentially stream of conscious style - and their voices are unique. Thomas captured their youthfulness well. I just wondered if the market of this book was very wide because I couldn't imagine many people dying to get a copy of a book about two vaguely annoying adolescent boys.

Overall, this novel has it's strengths but I personally didn't enjoy the stylistic nature of it or connect with the characters. If you're worried about hitting a reading slump I'd advise you to avoid this book, but if you're a fan of Wonder by R J Palacio like myself then I'd recommend you perhaps check it out.

Love, Jess

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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