Hello fellow adventurers!
This past weekend, I was stuck in a car for about 5 hours. Part of that time was spent stuck in traffic on the thruway, moving at snail speed: a little over 8 minutes per mile. We weren’t moving faster than 7.5 mph. Yes, I timed it! I officially dislike spending more than 20 minutes in a car and would rather walk or bike somewhere. While in the car for that treacherous period, there was one bright spot: Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas.
I loved loved loooooved this book! So much so that after only reading 15 pages I stopped…to tell my parents all about it. It’s been way too long since I’ve read a book that’s made me feel this way and it’s authors like Leah Thomas that give me faith in the writers of this century.
Published in June of 2015, Because You’ll Never Meet Me succeeds in pretty much every way. Within the first 15 pages I fell in love with both main characters and you will too! Beware though: It’s contemporary but also a bit sci-fi so suspend your disbelief.
In the first chapter, we meet Oliver Paulot a.k.a Ollie Ollie UpandFree, a boy who is deathly allergic to electricity…and yes this is a real thing. It’s called Electromagnetic hypersensitivity and good golly I would not want to have it! Ollie lives out in the woods with his mother, has never been to school, and doesn’t have any friends besides his penpal, and (sigh) a girl. He misses out on so many things and because of that he lacks tact. He spends most of his time reading, learning origami, whittling, doing calligraphy, and playing the glockenspiel. Ollie is such a fun character and Thomas does a great job at bringing out his personality and keeping it consistent.
In chapter two, we meet Moritz Farber, a boy from Germany who is incredibly well-spoken. He has a pacemaker so, as he tells Ollie in his first letter, “I am electric. Exposure to me would floor you.”(Thomas 13). Moritz is cynical and has every right to be. He’s spent most of his childhood in laboratories being experimented on, and has endured a terrible amount of bullying because he was born with no eyes. Regardless of his attitude, he is dubbed a superhero by Ollie which annoys him to no end, and the friendship that develops between them is epic even when rocky. By the end, it is Moritz who has experienced the most development and Ollie is a huge part of this transformation.
Throughout the book, the characters change and therefore, grow. It’s not always a happy story, sometimes it’s downright horrifying, but it always leaves you wanting more. Although some parts of the story are slow, and Ollie can be quite whiny, I recommend this book for everyone. Literally, please read this book. Reading it was like taking a breath of fresh air after being locked in a room for ages. It’s so unique, moving, and captured my imagination. What would you do if you were allergic to electricity? How would you spend your time? What would you miss the most if you had no eyes? We grew up with electronic technology, it’s shaped our lives in so many ways that go unnoticed. How would we be different had we not grown up with all of the modern technologies that surround us?
4.5/5 stars. Look for the sequel in 2017!