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From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life—or perhaps afterlife—of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world....
From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life—or perhaps afterlife—of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world....
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  • From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life—or perhaps afterlife—of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world. A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What's going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

 

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About the Author-

  • I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia. But I only stayed there for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. Since then, I've lived in Hawaii, Washington, California, and England.

    I've only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel when I moved to London in 1999. I've lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was. I write for one of the U.K. national papers, and I've also been writer in residence for Booktrust. Anything and everything to do with writing, that's how I want to make my life.


    I made up stories all the time when I was young, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody. That's okay if you do that; when you're ready, you're ready. The important thing is to keep writing.

    For young adults, I've written A Monster Calls, More Than This, and the Chaos Walking trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men. I've also written two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title that seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later.

    Here's a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I'm working on a first draft, all I write is 1,000 words a day, which isn't that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1,000 easy). And if I write my 1,000 words, I'm done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it's possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That's the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.

    Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

    1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.

    2. I've run three marathons.

    3. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 8, 2013
    Seth Wearing, age 16, dies in the opening pages of this complex, ambitious novel from Ness (A Monster Calls) and, arguably, that isn’t the worst thing that happens to him. After drowning, Seth awakens in the suburban London neighborhood where he lived before his family relocated to the Pacific Northwest. The old neighborhood is now a dust-covered ruin; there is no noise, no electricity, and, at first, not another soul around. Is this hell? A tortured dream? Seth’s search for understanding requires Ness to move between the unsettling present and Seth’s past, slowly revealing his sad childhood, his awful mother, and the bright spot in his young life—his relationship with schoolmate Gudmund. When even that romance ended in sorrow, Seth grasped for a reason to live. The Matrix-like science fiction elements of the story are somewhat fuzzy, and even the characters continually question the logic of the circumstances they are stuck in. But Ness’s exploration of big questions—specifically Seth’s yearning to find out if life will ever offer more than the rotten hand he’s been dealt—will provide solace for the right readers. Ages 14–up.

  • DOGO Books eibba99 - This is one of my favourite books because it makes you think a lot about the world and how we use technology for everything nowadays. I really want everyone to read it.
  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-This haunting and consistently surprising novel raises deep questions about what it means to be alive, but it doesn't try to console readers with easy or pat answers. As the story opens, teenage Seth is experiencing his own death in painful detail. In the next chapter, he wakes up physically weak, covered in bandages and strange wounds, and wonders if he is in Hell or the future or somewhere else entirely. As he tries to survive in and make sense of his strange yet familiar surroundings, he is plagued by intense flashbacks of his life before he died: his guilt over the tragedy that befell his little brother, his burgeoning romance with another boy in his small town, and the events that led to his (dubious) death. Upon discovering two other young people in the blighted place he's landed, Seth begins to learn the Matrix-like truth about what has happened to the rest of humanity, how he can escape, and whether he even wants to. The intense themes in this novel make it more appropriate for older teens, but the language and sexual scenarios are clear, relevant, and neither graphic or gratuitous. A delicate balance between dystopian survival and philosophical grappling means that many different kinds of readers should appreciate the story.-Kyle Lukoff, Corlears School, New York City

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 1, 2013
    Seth, not yet 17, walks into the Pacific Ocean and ends his life. Or does he? He wakes, groggy, in front of the house in England where he spent his childhood, before his little brother, Owen, was kidnapped and the family moved to America. He spends days in a dust-covered, desolate landscape scavenging for food in empty stores, imagining that he's in a "hell built exactly for him." His dreams are filled with vivid memories of his life: his romance with a boy named Gudmund, a photo that's gone viral, and farther back, his inability to keep Owen safe. Seth is rescued by a girl named Regine and Tomasz, a younger, Polish boy, from pursuit by a silent, helmeted figure they call the Driver. Past and present collide as Seth struggles to determine what's real and what isn't, whether circumstances are all of his own doing. He faces doorways everywhere, with genuine death seemingly just beyond, but there are hints of something even more sinister going on. There are no easy answers either for Seth or readers. With a nod to Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ness brilliantly plays with contrasts: life and death, privacy and exposure, guilt and innocence. In characteristic style, the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy delves into the stuff of nightmares for an existential exploration of the human psyche. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2013
    Grades 9-12 He dies. So ends the first chapter of Ness' latest meld of genre fiction and soul-searching prose, wherein 16-year-old Seth violently drowns in the ocean. There is, of course, a catch: Seth wakes up in his former England home, suffering near-total amnesia and covered in metallic bandages. The neighborhood appears long deserted, and so Seth begins to scrounge empty stores for food and clothing. It's when he sleeps, however, that pieces of his past come rushing back: his culpability in the kidnapping of his little brother eight years earlier, his bespoiled sexual relationship with a boy from school, and even hints at how on earth he ended up here. Edging any further into plot is a minefield of spoilers, as the book's chief propulsion tactic is the turning of unexpected corners. Ness' knack for cliff-hangers, honed in the Chaos Walking series, remains strong, while the spare, gradual, anytime, anyplace quality of the story recalls A Monster Calls (2011). Repeated, similar battles with an antagonist feel like a distraction; nevertheless, Ness has crafted something stark and uncompromising. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ness is in the midst of a major critical and commercial hot streak. An author tour and more will seek to extend it.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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