The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? (Goodreads)

The Story:

In thirty days Todd, the last boy in Prentisstown, will turn thirteen, officially making him a man.  For reasons unclear at the time, Todd’s guardians, Ben and Cillian, tell him to flee the town.  They send him away with a backpack and a book from his long-dead mother. They don’t explain why he has to leave, but they tell him that it’s urgent.  In fact, it’s a matter of life and death.

They can’t tell him more because of the Noise.  The Noise has stripped men of their privacy and left every man’s thoughts open for all to hear. It’s a disease viciously spread by the Spackle who once inhabited the planet.  And worse, not only did it shed light on the secret thoughts of men, it killed every woman in existence. But Ben suggests that perhaps there are places other than Prentisstown—towns where there is no Noise.  Places where life is different from home; where Todd can finally be safe.

Frightened and uncertain, Todd leaves with his dog, Manchee, and embarks on a journey that he doesn’t totally believe in.  He just wants to be home.  By the outskirts of town he discovers something amazing—Viola, a young girl (something he’s never before seen).  Viola’s family is dead and she reluctantly joins Todd as they are both eagerly pursued by Mayor Prentiss, Aaron (the young, evil preacher from town) and an army of men set on capturing them.  They have no idea why they’re being chased, but they push forward, moving from town to town—never quite safe and never entirely sure who to trust.  They are in search of a place called Haven, a place where there may be safety and there may be a cure for the Noise.   They aren’t even sure that such a place exists, but they trudge on together in the hopes of finding something other than the evil that is always only a few steps behind.

My Take:

You guys, this book tore me up.  The start was a tad slow, mostly because I was as confused as Todd, trying to make sense of the folks in Prentisstown, their backward ways and all the damn Noise.  But soon, very soon, I was engrossed.  I wanted to protect Todd and Viola, two poor kids who don’t know where they’ll find a friendly face.  They barely know if they can trust each other.  And still, they got to me, as did sweet little Manchee (whose thoughts you can hear as well).  And the end.  Oh the end ripped my heart out and left me wanting more.

This story is more than just one of survival.  It’s about the actual journey these two take emotionally.  It’s about how they are driven by the tiniest shred of hope and how, as they learn to trust each other, they push on for one another.  This is not a kissing book. There isn’t a hint of romance or swoon, but it grabbed my heart all the same.

Crush Intensity– 5/5 It was fantastic.  Totally different, but excellent just the same.

The Way I See It:

Asa Butterfield (from Nanny McPhee Returns, among other films) as Todd.

Chloe Moretz as Voila.  And, if you can’t already tell, I just saw a preview of Hugo, the film Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz are doing together.  I couldn’t erase these kids from my head as I thought about Todd and Viola.

23 thoughts on “The Knife of Never Letting Go

    • Seriously. I don’t even want to talk about it. I have The Ask and the Answer on my nightstand right now and I’m both frightened and excited to pick it up.

  1. i JUST finished reading this book too! And i kept picturing Chloe Moretz as Viola. Anyhoo, i COULD NOT BELIEVE that ending! And i think i know the part you guys are talk about and it goes ditto for me. *sniffles*

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