The second installment to the story of friends Ollie and Moritz
Ollie, the boy who is allergic to electricity is out to explore the world. Moritz, the boy with an electronic pacemaker just wants to meet Ollie. In their quest to live a normal life, they will meet other kids like them. Teens with special conditions. Is it possible for Moritz and Ollie to see each other at last?
On the acknowledgment page, author Leah Thomas said “Many people who read Because You’ll Never Meet Me assumed it would be a stand-alone…The trouble is, the world isn’t like that. We don’t have endings. We continue to grow and struggle and mourn and triumph and live.”
When I finished reading the first book about best friends Ollie Paulot and Moritz Farber, I thought it was the end of it. Ollie and Moritz are destined never to meet. Contact with electricity will cause seizures for Ollie. Moritz has an electronic pacemaker. The two develop a strong bond through their letters. The first book ends with Ollie trying to brave the outside world.
In Nowhere Near You, the letters continue as they both meet kids like them. Thomas likes to write these sci-fi-like stories, but the world she created is as real as it can get. In the second book, we get to know other “laboratory kids.” Arthur, a boy with fragile bones which keep on healing. Bridget, a girl who could take out her heart so as not to feel anything. Molly, a girl with two mouths.
“As a kid, I daydreamed about being normal, like kids with glasses still daydream about being astronauts. Daydreams aren’t realistic. I only wanted normal because I thought normal was a word that meant ‘surviving the world.'”
The thing is, readers thought that they would finally learn the mystery behind these laboratory kids. What with the search for Mortiz’s mom, a.k.a the evil doctor who started it all, when some of them started dying. No spoilers, promise. But as Thomas said, this book is about Moritz and Ollie living their lives. It shows how, despite their special condition, they could live a normal life. And they deserve to. That’s what Nowhere Near You is all about.
There are also some heartbreaking scenes about Ollie’s doctor here. We all can see a part of ourselves in him. A man who searches for the answer when it is right in front of him. And how our actions affect the people around us, especially those the ones we love.
“Maybe feeling alone is what normal means. Maybe everyone on the planet is a hermit until they share that with someone else.”
Moritz’s story is somehow convenient but nonetheless did not take the realness from it. The scenes from his new school are what I enjoyed reading the most. Apart from his relationship woes with Owen. Ollie’s road trip was fun, too. I particularly like the emotionless Bridget who could take her heart out of her body, and the discussion of the concept of loneliness, mostly through her character. Despite not providing the expected closure, the end will satisfy the readers and will keep their hearts warm.
Sky god worthy (5 out of 5 stars). There’s still the mixture of feelings I felt when I first read the letters of Ollie and Moritz: warmth, loneliness, sadness, excitement, joy. But in Nowhere Near You, it is clear that they both grew up, while still learning about life along the way. If the goal of the story is to show how we could triumph in life despite our circumstances, then it was achieved.
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