Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits 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.
A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Contemporary / Science Fiction
Review: So I was going to review Because You’ll Never Meet Me like I usually do, but this is Diversity Month so let’s talk about all the feelings. Towards the end of the book, Moritz writes about ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung’. He translates is as ‘working through the past’ and references one of the previous letters when Ollie hinted about Germany’s history.
I will talk about other aspects of Because You’ll Never Meet Me but you know one of the main thoughts I had while reading? It was: “Hurray it’s a nice German main character. We’re not the villains like normal.” (Unfortunately that took a dent slightly it was one of the reveals at the end but let’s cling to Moritz.) Do not misunderstand; I am not excusing anything from history. It was just nice to see a person, not villain or stereotype, like I did through most of my childhood.
Because You’ll Never Meet Me is narrated in letters by Ollie and Moritz, two very different boys who over the story become best friends. Something that based on the exchange of the first few letters seems unlikely, as these two are very different. Initially Ollie comes across as someone who just shares everything but it takes time for him to trust Moritz enough to actually tell him the truth (beyond the bubbly and happy persona he created).
Maybe I was just predisposed to like Moritz more from the start but I connected with him more than I did with Ollie. The way the friendship develops between the two was convincing and I was keen to see how this story would progress. The ending left me a bit mixed, as did the science fiction elements. They made sense for this story to work but for me it was more about Moritz and Ollie’s friendship and what was happening to them and the people around them.
I didn’t really know what Because You’ll Never Meet Me was going to be like before I began reading and it became a more emotional read than I anticipated – but that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Sidenote: Adored all the German within Because You’ll Never Meet Me but it confused me as well because I then started thinking in German.Made for an interesting reading experience.