A gripping YA novel with a terrifically unique concept – everyone can hear each others’ thoughts. Constantly.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the review copy.

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Rating: 14A for violence and language
Source: Candlewick Press for review


A boy named Todd Hewitt is one month away from finally becoming a man. He’s also the youngest person in his entire town. He’s the youngest because during the war, all the women were killed by the enemy with a horrible germ. And not only did this germ kill the women, it made all the men able to hear each others’ thoughts. All the time.

It’s called the Noise.

The Noise makes it impossible to keep secrets, so when Todd’s surrogate parents tell him he has to leave town for his own safety (and fast) he doesn’t understand. Why isn’t it safe in a town where you know what everyone is thinking? But leave he must, with nothing more than a rucksack and his trusty dog, Manchee. Whose thoughts Todd can also hear.

Todd is running from the only home he’s ever known, toward a place he’s never heard of, through a crocodile-infested swamp. And just when Todd thinks things can’t get worse, he runs into a huge problem. A girl.

Why is she still alive? Where did she come from? And why can’t he hear her thoughts?

This novel was a huge page-turner for me. Ness is fantastic at the “just one more chapter” compulsion and I found myself plowing through. And that cliffhanger ending! Yikes! I’m seriously running right to the library for the next book in the series. (One of the awesome benefits of coming to a book series after it’s finished – instant gratification!)

Todd is a very believable character. Most of the time he acted as I expected him to, but occasionally something so out of left field would happen that I was kept on my toes!

The girl. I want to say more about her but don’t want to give too much away. So I’ll just say that she is smart, inventive, and fabulous.

I also have to mention the dog… Manchee happens to be one of the best-written dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. He says exactly what I’d imagine a dog to be thinking, which is basically the same things over and over again. “Todd? Poo? Todd? Food? Todd?” He is so endearing and adorable.

The violence is quite graphic, so I would not recommend this for younger teens, but absolutely recommend it for those with the maturity to handle it!

The Knife of Never Letting Go is firmly in my “Will Recommend” list.


Would you want to know what other people are thinking? Why or why not?