Publisher's Note:  

Following up her acclaimed debut, Because You'll Never Meet Me, Leah Thomas continues the stories of Ollie and Moritz in another heart-warming story of unique friendship.

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can't escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they've made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Nowhere Near You

by Leah Thomas

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Overall Review:  

The sequel to YA author Leah Thomas’s Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Nowhere Near You, continues the engaging correspondence between male teen protagonists’ Ollie and Moritz.

Having not read the prequel before embarking on its successor,  the only instances that I felt I missed out were when they referred to previous events without a full elaboration. The relationship between the two protagonists also piqued my intrigue enough that I would have liked to have known how it came about. 

Though there were certain subjects within the book that I didn’t necessarily like, but there is no denying that Leah Thomas is an excellent writer. Her ability to create two protagonists with distinct voices that are easy to differentiate is admirable. 

The novel is mainly arranged as letters exchanged by friends, Moritz and Ollie. Each character uses a separate font, making it easy to discern who is writing, but even without the font change the voices are so specific, that it is easy to understand whose viewpoint is being presented.

Ollie and Moritz are different, but also the same. Ollie is a wide-eyed American with fresh optimism that hasn’t been tainted by disappointing human interactions. Moritz is a cantankerous German with trust issues brooding from a debauched childhood. Both live with a disorder/deformity resulting from unorthodox lab experimentations. Their friendship knows no bounds and it certainly can’t be diminished by distance

The storyline itself is a clever mix, contemporary with a sci-fi twist, that is at times heartbreaking, a little strange, but overall very cool. 

An ending with unanswered questions still looming, has me thinking that this story may turn into a trilogy, but as of yet, there is no confirmation on this suspicion. 
If you enjoy the format of exchanged letters from male POV’s check out A 52-Hertz Whale by Natalie Tilghman and Bill Sommer.  If you want more adventure with your adolescent sci-fi, you may want to consider James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series.  
Review of an Advance Reading Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  29 religious exclamations; 39 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 67 scatological words; 29 anatomical terms; 12 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Many humorous jokes or playful instances (brief and extended scenes) involving violence; character mentions that another character tried drowning them as a child (this incident is mentioned a few times throughout the novel); character feels threatened by another character; character talks about the injuries they’ve received from various accidents; report of fight; mention of broken bones (2x); extended discussion of suicide (about 1 ½ page); few brief mentions of teen being suicidal throughout book: extended scene report of being tortured as a child by medical personal; few brief reports of violence; few brief reports of injuries from vehicle accident; character threatens another character few discussions of fictional violence within fictional novel(s); female adolescent is held against their will as another female adolescent tries lifting up her shirt and un-stuffing her bra; extended scene (about 1page) children push and shove one another, character punches individual report of injury; character thinks about using violence; character uses their powers to injure other characters, injuries and blood mentioned; character harms themselves intentionally, blood mentioned; character states that they are going to kill themselves (serious--NOT humorous mention); character contemplates and attempts suicide.  (Note: Though this is not a gory or descriptively violent novel, it does deal with intense subject matter.) 

Sex/Nudity:  Several accounts (brief and extended scenes) of homosexual  teens holding hands, flirting,  kissing, making romantic declarations, receiving/giving romantic touches, discussing feelings about being gay; extended scene (about 1 page) adult enters sex-shop purchasing item, teen waits in vehicle; public pornographic sign; few brief sexual references; character makes rude remark about character’s sexuality; extended scene (about 1 page) male reports he had sex with his boyfriend; friend teases (friendly manner) his homosexual friend about having had sex with his boyfriend; art piece in museum is pornographic; joke about an affair; joke about condom; discussion about flirtatious homosexual teen; few incidents of heterosexual teens flirting/being attracted to each other, hugging; slang for male genitalia; joke about pornography; extended scene (about 2 pages) male teen spikes another male teen’s drink, they become intoxicated and romantic with one another; few brief implications of homosexual male teen being a sexual predator; brief report of elementary age children being boyfriend and girlfriend; adolescents talk about breasts and bras; female adolescent is held against their will as another female adolescent tries lifting up her shirt and un-stuffing her bra; general mention of kissing; implication of adults’ sexual activity; brief mention of homosexual parents. 

Mature Subject Matter:  

Experimentation on children/abuse, physical disorder/deformity, trauma/mental illness/self-harm/suicidal adolescent(s), loss/death of (a) loved one(s), homosexuality.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A few mentions of adults who smoke; individuals smoke on street; reference to kids smoking; male teen spikes another male teen’s drink they become intoxicated; adult character tries tranquilizing an adolescent character; report of drunk adult. 

Reviewed By MaryLou
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