Patrick Ness

Walker Books Ltd
United Kingdom
4 May 2017


Patrick Ness

The most personal and tender novel yet from Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls.

It’s Saturday, it’s summer and, although he doesn’t know it yet, everything in Adam Thorn’s life is going to fall apart. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll find freedom from the release. Time is running out though, because way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake…

This uplifting coming-of-age novel will remind you what it’s like to fall in love.


The opening pages of a Patrick Ness novel are always a thrilling, somewhat disconcerting, place to be. You have no idea what is going on or where he will take you, but his writing is always powerful and poignant , with never a word wasted.

Ness’s latest is his most personal novel yet. Set over the course of one day in a small lakeside American town, it has two parallel storylines. The major one focuses on Adam, a young gay man navigating his way through first love despite his conservatively religious family disapproving vehemently of his sexual choices. The other story is set in the spirit world and is narrated by a faun, who is worriedly following his beloved Queen. The Queen has taken on the spirit of a recently deceased girl whose death has shocked the town, and is pursuing vengeance on her behalf.

Ness says that one of his influences was Judy Blume’s instructional teenage novel, Forever, about losing your virginity. There are some explicit sex scenes that provide an education, but may prove too descriptive for some readers. Another influence is Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, set over the course of one day, yet reflecting upon an entire life. Adam must make it through his one revelatory day where he is forced to define who he is and what he stands for – and his world will never be the same again. Ness takes readers on an unforgettable journey excavating the anatomy of the human heart and the complexity of human identity. This is a stunning coming-of-age novel, best suited to mature readers.

Angela Crocombe

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