More Than This

More Than This

3.9 20
by Patrick Ness
     
 

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"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

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.

Editorial Reviews

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

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.)
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
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763676209
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
07/22/2014
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
37,154
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
HL800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling 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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More Than This 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I won't lie. I hated this book. It was way too repetetive and the ending wasn't at all satisfying. The issue at hand was never resolved! I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoyed this book. It just wasn't for me.
sandyemerson More than 1 year ago
‘More Than This’ was one of those books that I have trouble describing, because right from the start it left me in awe. Initially, I didn’t even know the main character’s name, but I had connected with him within the first few seconds. How could I not when the very first scene was of him drowning? This book took me to places where I couldn’t decide whether the character was in purgatory or in a post-apocalyptic world, or (there was this distant thought) he had been rescued and was dreaming. I didn’t know which way was up. All I knew was that I wanted more. I wanted to find out where Seth was, how he had come to be in the position he was now, and how he was going to make his way through to the other side. Seth was a strong, yet vulnerable, character. He had so many realistic flaws and in his own way was very idealistic. He was a boy who felt strongly. And what I really liked about him was that he wasn’t afraid to cry. The range of emotions he felt were fitting to the situation he found himself in. He also had surprisingly strong survival instincts. There were other characters in this book that came about a third of the way through. One character held that element of danger that’s needed to make a book suspenseful and edgy. And, boy, did it. That character had a serious spook factor. The storyline was fascinating and the more I read it, the more enthralled I got. The plot became clearer and it had similarities to a movie I’ve seen. I won’t say what movie, because I think it would give most of the plot away and I don’t want to do that. Another reason I was drawn to this book was the writing style. Patrick Ness is a master of the English language and his prose is so lyrical and lovely. He has such a unique way of writing. There’s so much more to this novel I could mention, but I feel like I would spoil it if I did. I will mention though that there was a very sweet romance in this book even if it was bittersweet. It was between Seth and another boy This relationship was what started the chain of events that led Seth to the world he was in now. Overall, I loved this book and I have hope that there is going to be a sequel, because it ended in such a way that suggests there will be. I would recommend this to anyone, especially those who like sci-fi, post apocalyptic books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely well written and very interesting. Slow start, certain character developments I wasn't a super fan of, plot is both new and yet somehow familiar. Overall good book but not Ness' best work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book kept me engaged and i literally read it in one night! I loved the mysteriousness aspect of this book and Seth is very relatable to high school kids. Ness is a fantastic writer and all of his books are amazing! READ THIS BOOK
Sunbear9 More than 1 year ago
This book opens with the most incredible death scene ever. Patrick Ness is a master. Anyway, once Seth dies, he wakes up naked on the cold cement ground. He finds himself back in England where he lived as a little boy. Everything is covered in dust and he is all alone in a sort of burned out neighborhood. Seth works on survival and figuring out where he is. It is a very different book, but amazingly good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More Than This is a new book from Patrick Ness, the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy which I still need to read and that I've heard great things about. I'm unsure exactly how to write this review, after sleeping on it I still don't know whether I liked it or disliked it or whether or not I actually understood it at all, add in the ending which I thought ended at the wrong point for a book which as far as I'm aware is a stand-alone, I wanted to know what happened at the end with Seth, I don't like using my imagination to come up with my own version of an ending, I'd rather the author does it because isn't that what we're reading the book for? To tell us what happened not the other way around. The plot is initially what drew me in to wanting to pick this book up, it sounded like a really intriguing dystopian (which I love), and it started of that way and I was really into it and then it changed genres, into what I'm not exactly sure and that's when the confusion started. I don't know if I can really write what I'm wandering about with the twist without completely wrecking the story, I'll guess it'll be something I'll be left pondering, unfortunately for me I was left with a few unanswered questions that may never be answered. Although I did like the supporting characters introduced later on in the book, I felt that Seth was dealt a raw deal in life and it was just depressing, all he wanted in life was to feel wanted which after the tragedy that happened to his family while traumatic, it was like his family just ignored his existence and he was nothing but an afterthought, add in the whole Gudmann relationship and I can understand why and how he ended up where he did at the start of the book. I wish that I enjoyed this book as much as I thought I would, but for me I think I built it up in my head and it didn't quite get there.
sdanielw More than 1 year ago
More Than This is a book aimed at a specific group of people. Do you like books that confuse you? Do you like to be slightly unsure what's going on at any given moment? Do you like twists that come just as you thought you knew what was going on? If so, this book is for you. Personally, I've read enough books (so, so many books) that not knowing what's going on is pretty exciting. If a book can make me say "what the hell?" (especially out loud so I bewilder my roommate), then I'm on board, and More Than This surpassed that standard easily. It isn't a pretty story, or a simple one, but it'll make you keep reading just for another clue, another glimpse of what is going on. If it seems like I'm giving no details of concrete examples, it's because this is one of those books you want to go into blind. Trust me, don't read the summary, just pick it up and dive right in. You won't regret it (unless you want closure or easy answers-in which case, this is probably not the book for you).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author uses fifty words where five would have done just as well... literally repeating the same sentence two or three times. It wants to be deep but really isn't.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
At the beginning there is just a boy drowning. He tries to fight against the water, the current and the waves, in those last moments he really does fight. But the water is harder and, eventually, it wins. The boy dies. That should be the end but somehow it isn't. There is more. The boy wakes up half naked and exhausted--hungry and thirsty in a neighborhood that is at once familiar and other. Everything is abandoned. The boy is alone. Except is any of that really true? The boy can't be sure when even being dead seems uncertain now. Exploring this new landscape the boy will delve into his past as well as his arduous present in order to discover what really lies ahead of him in More Than This (2013) by Patrick Ness. Other reviewers have, fairly, suggested that this book is best enjoyed when you go into without expectations or too much knowledge of what it's about. That is partly true as the story has quite a few shocking twists. On the other hand, after part one More Than This almost become an entirely different book. Which is okay because for the entire first part (roughly 150 pages) we are only in the boy's head. He is alone. He is surviving. And, honestly, that gets less interesting over time. Ness is a critically acclaimed author with lots of shiny, well-deserved awards to his name already. The writing in More Than This is smooth and effortless. Unfortunately the writing and the plot were not enough to actually make this book particularly gripping or exciting. Flashbacks break into the present story with a jarring frequency. Although the boy is hungry and feels threatened, there never seemed to be a real sense of urgency. The premise of More Than This is promising (even just the superficial one that gets turned upside and sideways as the book progresses) and will find an eager audience among readers who enjoy books that toe the line between life and death and ponder what might come after. The ultimate meaning behind the book's title is also a lovely element to the story. It just, sadly, wasn't enough to make this a standout read for me. Possible Pairings: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Between by Jessica Warman, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the books by this auther and this by far is the best one the auther has made i think evryone will like it and its not a waste of money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect title for a book because when I finished reading this in two days I asked myself "please tell me this is not the end and that there is more than this. If you like books that have absolutely no point to them whatsoever then this is the perfect book for you. Nothing but a waste of time and money.
car0 More than 1 year ago
I simply adored this book it takes to multiple different worlds, a virtual one and a real one. the real on is abandoned and wrecked with only a few people there who were dying in the virtual world but there was a malfunction in the system that led for them to be alive in the real world. It is scavenged by a robot like man but more dangerous than a robot, his job is too keep the virtual world running so it wont shut down he is also supposed to put the malfunctions back into the real world. This means they'll die cause they died in the virtual world so then they we'll remain asleep forever. It shows that these few friends have an amazing friendship both funny but delicate and heartbreaking. I loved this book and I totally recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was and is and will always be. thank you.