More Than This by Patrick Ness
A boy drowns. He wakes up in a house he hasn't lived in for years. The world is deserted. More Than This has a gripping and brutal opening chapter, but does the book live up to the potential of its opening?
Host Sasha deBuyl is joined by children’s bookseller Eve Harvey and young adult author Keith Gray to discuss the book, the most recent young adult novel from Carnegie Medal-winning author Patrick Ness.
Seth, the protagonist, is caught between two worlds. The sparse, deserted post-apocalyptic world he inhabits now and the rich but traumatic world that he remembers in involuntary flashbacks. The length of the book's first section divided our panel - is there enough intrigue to keep readers hooked?
This is a book that deals with some very tough themes – suicide, murder, child abuse – our panel ask if young adult books should censor themselves or whether they have a responsibility to discuss these tough issues.
More Than This was interpreted very differently at times by our panel - have you read the book? What did you think were the key themes from the book? How do you think it compared to the Chaos Walking trilogy? And is there really more than this?
More Than This discussion questions
- How do you feel the book measured up to the very compelling opening chapter?
- What genre do you think More Than This is? One? Many? Any? Do you think Young Adult books have more freedom to play with genre?
- The book deals with some very tough themes – suicide, murder, child abuse – do you think Young Adult books should censor themselves or be free to discuss these tough issues?
- How did you feel about the gay relationship in More Than This?
- Patrick Ness has perfected the art of keeping his writing style sparse in order to convey extreme action. How do you feel this compared to the more tender moments in the book?
BookTalk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.