More Than This

Patrick Ness

More Than This
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More Than This

Patrick Ness

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 called 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 is 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 neighbourhood 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…

Review

A new young adult novel by Carnegie Medal-winning writer Patrick Ness is grounds for great excitement. When Ness was recently in Melbourne, he read the first devastating pages where the protagonist, Seth, dies after being dramatically pummelled against rocks in the ocean. I couldn’t imagine where it would take the reader from there, and the story certainly delivered numerous surprises.

Seth wakes up in a completely different but somehow familiar place that is deserted. The first few chapters in this strange new world are creepy and disconcerting as the reader, along with Seth, tries to figure out exactly what is going on. Is he dead? In hell? Or is this all just a dream?

The journey of discovery never lets up, right until the final moments of this thrilling work. Beautifully written, with flashback scenes to Seth’s life before, this is a novel that imaginatively gives voice to the thought that every teenager has had: ‘There must be more to life than this.’ The only downside of reading this novel was my devastation once it was over. I wait with bated breath for a sequel.


Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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