Parents' Guide to

Nowhere Near You

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Sick pen pals move on and grow up in charming sequel.

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In this charming story told in letters, two lonely pen pals push themselves to face their fears and engage in the world. Nowhere Near You picks up where Because You'll Never Meet Me leaves off: Ollie and Moritz are reeling from losses and the discovery of dark secrets about their early years. However, they're no longer letting their isolation control their lives. They take risks and learn how to move forward. Like the first book, this story moves slowly and stalls out in sections. The boys' doctor has some secrets, which is supposed to build tension, but few hints are dropped, and it ends up being more irritating than intriguing.

The boys meet kids who share their unusual background. The new characters add a lot to the story, in that they teach Ollie and Moritz compassion and empathy. In their letters, the differences between the characters leaps off the page. Ollie's still funny, energetic, and outgoing, while Moritz is formal, withdrawn, and dramatic. Their rapport and love for each other is touching. Many of the book's themes -- coming of age, friendship, empathy, loss, isolation, love -- will give readers lots to discuss and think about.

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