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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Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy, as well as the Carnegie Medal–winning A Monster Calls, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd. Among the numerous awards he has received are the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.From School Library Journal:
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 Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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