A witty, unusual take on friendship and parlaying weakness into power.

BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER MEET ME

Opposites attract—and repel—in Thomas' epistolary debut novel.

Ollie sees his new German pen pal, Moritz, as a potential lifeline. Ollie’s allergy to electricity has exiled him and his mother to a cabin in the Michigan woods with little company besides Auburn-Stache, his unconventional doctor, and Liz, a girl who brings him news from the world of TVs and humidifiers. Buzzing with awkward wisecracks and restless energy, he draws the aloof, sardonic Moritz into conversation. Rescued from a lab, Moritz requires a pacemaker and lacks eyes, but he insists he isn't blind; he can acutely sense his surroundings by clicking his tongue. Unfortunately, superecholocation and sarcasm don't help him fight a bully or approach Owen, the boy who treats him like a human. Ollie and Moritz need each other, even if they won't admit it. Isolation and the intimacy afforded by distance sharply focus the characters' developments; their personalities take shape quickly, and their relationship deepens as they play off each other’s anecdotes and insults. The humorous and increasingly emotional exchanges create cliffhangers, culminating in occasionally disturbing revelations about the boys' origins. Their link is heavily foreshadowed, while other plotlines remain open enough to give the ending a sense of anticipation as well as satisfaction.

A witty, unusual take on friendship and parlaying weakness into power. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61963-590-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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