I'm so excited to be part of the blog tour for Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas! This book came out of Tuesday from Bloomsbury, and not only is it fantastically high concept (two very isolated boys--one of whom is allergic to electricity, the other of which has a pacemaker--because friends through letters, but are destined to never meet) but it's gorgeously written. As evidenced by the sneek preview Leah herself has graciously shared for us on the blog.
BYNMM features two wildly different boys with wildly different voices, so it only made sense for them to give us some tips on keeping in touch in their own voices. Take it away, Ollie and Moritz!
How to keep in touch even when far apart
So ever since we started writing these letters to each other, I’ve felt like some sort of badass wizard or something. “Oh, yes. I have friends…abroad. In the land of Deutsch. Deutschland.” I thought this was pretty damn impressive, borderline magical. I mean, that is more than four thousand miles between me and my best friend. Mailmen are basically miracle workers, like angels with cooler uniforms.
But of course Liz doesn’t see what the fuss is about. According to her, a lot of kids our age have friends who live in other countries. They are friends from -- wait for it -- DAS INTERWEBZ! (I don’t care if that isn’t actually German for Internet.) Anyhow, apparently if you aren’t allergic to electricity, you can maintain friendships with just about anybody, anywhere, and it’s not magic. Just technology. Just typical.
These are the ways I’ve heard about, ways how the Muggles – you know, the normal people of the world, those lucky dopes who aren’t allergic to electricity – keep in touch across thousands of miles. (You probably know more about this, but I’m dishing it out anyhow! Deal with it!)
|(gifs added by Gillian)|
Videos. I have it on good authority that Muggles send each other daily videos all about the following subjects: cats, potty humor, marriage proposals in public places, people getting injured in amusing ways? or – weirdest of all is this next one ! – videos of other people watching videos or talking about videos. Or videos of other people playing video games. (WHAT? Just…what? We hermits might be the sane ones after all.) Texting. Yeah. I figured we were already doing this, because you type your letters up in text (What else would people write in? Color me confused), but apparently the text in letters isn’t considered Texting. Okay. So like, short little messages, via phone. Let’s imagine it, okay? Me to you: POW! I have pressed a button and sent words to you via satellite! I HAVE BINGED YOU, Dolphin-Mo! You to me: Oliver Paulot, please do excuse me if I do not appreciate your virtual pokings. By gum. By Jove. (insert German insult here)
But even if that sounds annoying, it’d really be something. Binging you every two seconds. Sending photos. Instant. It’s so amazing that it’s hard for me to even imagine, but I guess so easy for other people to forget to remember it’s amazing in the first place. (Wow, I’m even confusing myself now. Focus, Ollie.)
Photo Sharing. So another thing Liz said that people send each other is pictures of food. Tuna Sandwiches could seal a friendship? Not the most aesthetically pretty thing, but heck, neither are you. Har, har. Bloogs and Profiles on Social Media? So apparently muggles only know who they are if they make…like, pages? Is that the word? Profile pages. Explaining who they are. And other people can write things to agree with them or say no, that’s not how you are. I guess. I really can’t visualize this part. It’s really frustrating. I’ve never had anyone tell me who I am. Sorry, getting frustrated just thinking about it, because all I can see on screens is rainbow vomit and white lines. (Also, I was testing you: blogs, not bloogs. Did you catch me?)
Phonecalls. Liz says this is a bit retro, because most people just text instead. Talking on the phone is too intimate nowadays. But Moritz, you know, I would love to hear your voice. This is the method I wish for most. Because if pushing a phone next to my ear wouldn’t give me emerald icepicks and shaking seizures, I would call you all the time, and you could call me, and you could tell me what shape my words are in echolocation.
Um…I guess there are probably other ways to keep in contact with long lost friends, like some sort of science fiction-y video chat called Skype, or something. More profiles and blogs and things I can’t begin to understand. But you know…I can hardly imagine these things and suddenly I don’t really want to. Man, this started out fun! What happened? Sorry. Bad headspace.
Write me a letter back with thoughts or comments. I guess you probably won’t ever know what a profile page looks like either, so there’s that, Fellow Hermit.
|(You would not believe how many google results I got for "Hermit the Frog")|
Oliver. Do not let this go to your head, but I think I prefer our brand of slow communication to those impulsive alternatives. I shudder to think how many cats in bags would flood my inbox, had you access to them. Or how often my phone would buzz with your questions, the pings of you in an incessant stream of curious texts (not pings, not bings, thank you). Rather than occupying just some parts of my life, you would occupy all of it. That’s a lot of you, Ollie. I’m not sure I’ve the gall for it.
So Oliver, let’s be grateful for the angelic mailmen. They keep us close, but not so close as to ruin us. And it is fine that our letters never exist in digital form. Our letters are only ever yours and mine, inaccessible to the connected world. I find that comforting. That privacy. But. Of course I’d love to hear your voice. I would love to see the shapes of your words, though I fear they’d break my eardrums. Then again, I hear you already. I hear your voice in your handwriting. In scrawls and scratches. In lines and pages. Your voice in writing is so familiar to me by now, that when I read your letters you’re almost in the room with me, in sprawling chickenscratch. All elbows, Oliver.
Words are the death of distance, Oliver. And I can always hear yours.
Okay, so I let it go to my head. Your weirdly nice letter, I mean. And from my head it went down my spine and over my shoulder and to the end of my right hand and that hand took a pen and started writing you again. Forget cat videos and phone calls. I’ll draw you some comics. I can hear you rolling your nonexistent eyes, and I can hear you smiling despite yourself. So there.
I SHIP IT. I FRIENDSHIP IT. And I also sort of regular ship it? I DONT KNOW I HAVE EMOTIONS
About the book:
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz’s weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die.
Living as recluses 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. But when Moritz reveals the key to their shared, sinister past that began years ago in a mysterious German laboratory, their friendship faces a test neither one of them expected. Narrated in letter form by Ollie and Moritz—two extraordinary new voices—this story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances blends elements of science fiction with coming of age themes, in a humorous, dark, and ultimately inspiring tale is completely unforgettable.
About the author:
Leah Thomas frequently loses battles of wits against her students and her stories. When she's not huddled in cafes, she's usually at home pricking her fingers in service of cosplay. Leah lives in San Diego, California, and Because You'll Never Meet Me is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @blunderkinder.
And now, the giveaway!
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