Discovering Patrick Ness was, for me, one of those miraculous booklover epiphanies – you know, those moments when you go ‘How come I haven’t read any of this author’s stuff before?’ and rush to get your hands on everything else they’ve written. Why hadn’t I read any Patrick Ness? I think possibly because I didn’t know what to expect. With so much YA, you can look at the cover and know exactly what you’re getting: romance, dystopia, comedy, ‘issues’, whatever. But not so with Patrick Ness. And certainly not with More Than This. Look at the cover. What do you see? A grid pattern. Like a screen? An open door? What is this?
Within the first three pages, a boy dies. He’s dead, definitely, no doubt about it. But then, Part 1, Chapter 1, he wakes up. He’s in a world which is both familiar and strange. He has no idea what has happened to him, wonders if this is the afterlife or if there is some way he’s been saved from death. The truth, when we eventually learn it, is stranger still. Of course I can’t let you in on the secret. Just know that More Than This is thrilling and thought-provoking, funny and sad, and ultimately perfectly satisfying.
Patrick Ness has already won the Carnegie Medal Twice, and, for my money, More Than This which is shortlisted for this year’s prize, should win him another.