More Than This

Overview

"Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions. I won’t tell you anything else about it. Just read it." — John Green

Seth drowns, desperate and alone. But then he wakes. Naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. And where is he? The street seems familiar, but everything is abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust. He remembers dying, his skull bashed against the ...

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Overview

"Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions. I won’t tell you anything else about it. Just read it." — John Green

Seth drowns, desperate and alone. But then he wakes. Naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. And where is he? The street seems familiar, but everything is abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust. He remembers dying, his skull bashed against the rocks. Has he woken up in his own personal hell? Is there more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife? From the acclaimed author of the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls comes one of the most provocative teen novels of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
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.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions. I won’t tell you anything else about it. Just read it.
—John Green

It is a gorgeous story with masterful pacing and unforgettable passages.
—The Boston Globe

VOYA - Barbara Allen
Seth knows he is dead. He felt the life drain from his body. Why, then, is he awake in his former house in England? What are these weird bandages all over him? Why is there an inch of dust on everything? Where is everybody? Is he in Hell? Seth must survive in this strange world any way he can. He breaks into other houses and stores to find enough usable food to eat. There are no other people around him. He is plagued nightly with memories so vivid that he could swear they are real. He finally meets two other kids and they are on the run for their lives from an evil being known as the Driver. Together they try to find out if they are really dead, in Hell, or what. While in this world, readers catch glimpses of Seth's life before his death, his crazy mixed-up life. Ness leads readers on an adventure into a world that astounds and amazes. The plot twists and turns in many unexpected ways. The novel poses one mystery after another. Once a reader thinks it is all figured out, the reader is proven wrong. Ness captures the mind of a teenager perfectly. It is a fast-paced journey that even reluctant readers will pursue with some prodding. This book deals with death, love, homosexuality, suicide, guilt, and fear. Reviewer: Barbara Allen
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Anyone who has asked of life “is this all there is” will be intrigued by this layered, complex novel. In the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington, seventeen-year-old Seth is dashed against the rocks and sinks to his death beneath the cold waves. He awakes in his boyhood home in London, England to find himself in a dust and ash filled world of only one. Is he in hell? A nightmare? Or an alternate reality? Desperately he searches for food and the creature comforts he needs to make this life bearable for eternity. It is not long before he discovers that he is not alone. Two more survivors, Regine and Tomasz, who like him have suffered a violent death, join him in the quest to uncover the mystery of their surroundings. It does not take long for the three to realize they are part of some great experiment that may have gone awry. In flashbacks, Seth relives the time before his death, the kidnapping of his little brother, his fractured relationship with his mother, and his gradual awakening to his homosexuality. The three are part of a Matrix-like alternate world the details of which are sometimes fuzzy to the reader. The logic of this world is often not clear and as the characters question the reasoning so does the reader. There is no question that this is a well-crafted mystery with twist and turns and one surprise on top of another. As Seth is tortured by guilt over Owen’s kidnapping, and the loss of his lover Gudmund that prompted his own suicide he comes to realize that there is always more to life and that more is what he greatly craves. It is what prompts him to take the ultimate risk in regaining the life he once knew. The fast pace of this convoluted mystery and fascinating plot turn will appeal to teens. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey; Ages 14 to 16.
School Library Journal - Audio
06/01/2014
Gr 10 Up—Seth remembers dying. His remembers splitting his head on the rocks and drowning. But now he is awake again, naked and lost in his old home in England. Seth wanders the empty, desolate streets of town, eating spoiled food, looking for any signs of life, finally considering he may very well be in his own personal hell. When he attempts to sleep, his dreams are filled with vivid memories of despair. The memories are so terrible, in fact, that he begins to prefer this new world over the dreams, awful as it is. He's thinking about trying to end it all when he hears a car engine roar to life. Nick Podehl's expert narration portrays the characters' voices believably and with emotion. A few sexual situations and mild language make this appropriate for slightly older teens. Purchase where demand for dystopian fiction is high and Ness ("Chaos Walking" series) has a following. Listeners will be clamoring for a sequel.—Amanda Schiavulli, Finger Lakes Library System, NY
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 City
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480518728
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/26/2013
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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