Title: Nowhere Near You
Author: Leah Thomas
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Hardback, Paperback, ebook
Source: An ARC. Thank you!
An outstanding story that gives us insight into Ollie and Moritz’s life and friendship yet again through their letters - ‘Nowhere Near You’ is a story about two disabled teenagers just trying to live, but this time we’re also privy to other teenagers and their lives as they try to do the same - as Ollie attempts to document their lives while he’s on a road trip. And it’s an amazing experience to see their lives and relationships develop while they continue to fight a world that often won’t let them do so with their conditions, because Thomas touches on aspects of living with conditions and disabilities (some of which are wonderfully sci-fi) that both comfort and educate disabled and able-bodied readers respectfully, while also just writing about people, - and about teenagers who are just trying to find out what to do with their lives (whether it’s love, educational, or just their general lives).
‘Nowhere Near You’ is nothing short of absolutely incredible. Thomas continues to let both Ollie and Moritz’s voices shine through throughout the novel - who, like Ollie and Moritz, have unique conditions. Both Arthur, and Bridget, in particular, jump off the page and are as real, and lovable as Ollie and Moritz, especially as we learn more about them. Thomas effortlessly develops her new characters so by the end of the book you care about them as if you’ve been reading about them for years, while also expanding and continuing to develop Ollie and Moritz as characters so they become even more human. Thomas is a master of writing real, human characters within a story that will utterly enrapture you - and this book is another example of that fact.
This book is also very much a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Thomas manages to interweave emotion into every line so that you’ll be quite literally crying at the end (trust me on that one) - but they’ll also be ample opportunities through the book that will make you laugh, smile and cry. Thomas is a master at making you feel not only what the characters themselves are feeling - but she is such a master of words that even a description can make you weep or smile. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a writer that can so masterfully make you feel so much. Thomas’s writing is not only amazing, but also really emotive. You’ll definitely need a pack of tissues when you start reading this one!
The tension within ‘Nowhere Near You’ is also really well done - I wasn’t able to put the book down as soon as the plot started building pace. There were twists, turns, and surprises that kept me on my toes and that make you want to devour the book in one go just to see where the story goes. But that’s not just because the story is really suspenseful and really well told - even though it is, of course - but it's also because you really, really care about Ollie, Moritz, and all the other characters within the story. ‘Nowhere Near You’ is everything you want in a book - characters that feel like family, and a story that’s equal parts heart-wrenching and incredible.
When I started to write this review I was lost for words - ‘Nowhere Near You’ is not only an amazing sequel to ‘Because You’ll Never Meet Me’ (which is one of my all-time favourite books, btw) but as a standalone novel, ‘Nowhere Near You’ is faultless in its powerful story and its lovable characters. You’ll reach the final page and long for more, but will be completely satisfied with how Thomas has effortlessly lead you along such a beautiful story of friendship and humanity and love. Be warned, however, the ending of the book will definitely make you cry - even if you feel like you’ve cried out all your tears by then! The book really ends in such a lovely way - I gasped aloud when I realised what was actually happening! I don’t think the end of a book has ever made me feel so happy for its characters (as well as thousands of other emotions!) But like I said, Thomas really is a fantastic writer - and if ‘Because You’ll Never Meet Me’ proved this, then ‘Nowhere Near You’ nails the point home so that no can ever refute it.
In ‘Nowhere Near You’ Thomas effortlessly weaves an impacting, heart-wrenching story of friendship with elements of fantasy that should, and does, appeal to anyone that loves books - because this is a damn good one. I know it might seem like I’m being hyperbolic - but honestly, if you’re looking for books to read, let it be this one and it’s predecessor because when I sing their praises, I mean it with all of my heart. They’re fantastic, for so, so many reasons.