PLEASE NOTE THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Moritz, you know me.
You know that usually I’d be the first person to say I’m awesome.
Behold! The Teenage Lord of Gnockenspieling! I’ve got the astronomical charts for the next six months memorised, at least for the small patch of sky that hangs over northern Michigan. Did you know a comet’s going to be soaring over my cabin in seventeen weeks?
The Teenage Lord of Gnockenspieling knows.
Leah Thomas’ Nowhere Near You is the sequel to Because You’ll Never Meet Me. It’s due to be released on February 7th 2017, and I was able to read this copy thanks to NetGalley.
Nowhere Near You follows the same two characters we met in the first book, Ollie and Moritz, who have this already built this friendship through their letters. Ollie is “allergic to electricity” or electromagnetic, and Moritz has a pacemaker and is blind. The end of the first book has us learning about the laboratory that Moritz was experimented in, and the fact that there are other children. This book’s main focus is Ollie’s travels to find some of these people.
What Thomas has done incredibly well throughout this book is remain consistent with the voices we have loved so much throughout the first book. Ollie and Moritz are equally as funny and dark as they were initially which allows us to pick up this book as if we’re reading letters from old friends.
The introductions of the new characters too is really well done. Every character that Thomas introduces in this series is impressively written. They are unique, and not just because of their ‘defects’, but in their language patterns and personalities. However, the choice of defect is really what makes them stand apart. Bridget and her heart, Molly and her mouth and good old Arthur with his breaking bones, this selection of characters was incredible to get to meet and learn their stories.
However, I can’t seem to get past the fact that this book didn’t do for me what the first one did. Whilst the first was very much about establishing friendships between our two main characters, with subtle events in the background, this book I felt landed too heavily on its feet when explaining what was happening. Nothing was done very subtly at all for me and I felt like the revelation towards the end of this book regarding Ollie was a little slapdash and almost ruined the entire story for me. I could have gathered this from subtle notes from Auburn-Stache through his letters to Moritz, or through some other form, but the way it was written was clunky and I wasn’t a fan.
Ultimately, I am still of the opinion that Because You’ll Never Meet Me didn’t really need a sequel. I’m not going to say not to read this sequel because I actually did enjoy reading it. It’s thought provoking and gives you more development on these two characters, and shows us how life develops for them. In the acknowledgements for this book even, Thomas states “we don’t have endings. We continue to grow and struggle and mourn and triumph and live” which is what she did definitely show through this sequel.