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. . . .
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book raises philosophical questions about what each of us wants out of life when our expectations aren’t in line with reality. Or is any of it real at all?
Bit of a let down
From the very first chapter, this book intrigued me and felt so unique from any other book I've ever read. Unfortunately, the book takes a very Matrix-inspired theme and turned me off. I couldn't get past how lame and unoriginal it seemed after that twist. It was still an interesting read in the end, but not as imaginative and unique as it led me to believe.
This story uncovers an awareness you will have never expected.
This story is very much written in false truths and realities that are constantly questioned. It is confusing and sometimes a lot to take in at one time, but it is amazingly inspirational and eye-opening. This story caused me to think about things and my own life, in ways I had never thought about before. Definitely read this book and enjoy all it's daring ideas, and hopeful comfort it will give about our existence. I hope it will cause you to question and wonder as it has now done to me. This book is great and I encourage you to read it. Hopefully you will like it.