by Leah Thomas
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (June 2, 2015)
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In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.
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.
The whole book is told by letters that are exchanged between Ollie, who lives in the United States and Moritz who resides in Germany. At the beginning of the story neither have anybody close to them to help release their pent up feelings. It is Ollie's Dr who suggests that speaking to another disabled person that is close to his age to find some companionship that is more relate-able to their own situation.
Ollie and Moritz are opposites when it comes to their outlook on life. Ollie having a more glass half full look to Moritz's glass half empty. There is a lot of anger and humor that comes and goes as the story progresses. Moritz has had a lot more negativity in his life but also has lived more of a life than Ollie. Their friendship becomes inspiration for each other to do more things, or different things to make more of what they have.
I had a struggle while reading this book. There were a lot of things I just couldn't agree with, both the actions of the characters and the progress of the storyline/plot. The beginning of the book and building of the relationships was the best part for me. As secrets are revealed and the plot unravels I had a harder time believing (and enjoying) where the story was taking me.
There are some great reviews online that this story has really touched some readers and I do believe it is personal reasons that this particular story did not speak to me in the same way. The story brings in some elements of science fiction that I felt did not mesh well with the contemporary realness we got from the majority of the story.
Ollie and Moritz are connected to each other, a bond of friendship that really strengthens and encourages each other to be stronger people. I felt that there are a lot of things to be gained from this book and I do recommend it to others that are interested in what it contains. As for me I had to do the classic break up line "it's not you, it's me." It was an interesting ride though!