Monday, March 19, 2012

Booktalk: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

It can be really embarrassing if you inadvertently think out loud. Much of the time, you really don’t want other people knowing your private thoughts. But for Todd Hewitt, a young teen, everyone else is privy to your thoughts: all the time. Your thoughts are broadcast out loud, in what’s called Noise. It’s almost as if you have speakers broadcasting what you’re thinking. Zero privacy: try keeping a secret.

Todd lives in a settlement called Prentisstown, which is part of the New World, a world without women, all of whom died. Todd has never seen a woman when we first meet him. His parents are dead, and he’s been raised by two of their male friends. Todd’s closest friend is his dog, Manchee, with whom goes on walks. In one of his walks, Todd encounters a physical presence: silence – an absence of Noise, a freedom from it. It has a powerful effect on him, and when he goes back to town, he leaks his secret about what he experienced through his Noise. Todd’s adopted parents are scared to death for him and urge him to leave Prentisstown immediately. From reading their Noise, Todd can tell that he is very grave danger. All he’s got is his dog, his knife, and a book of his mother’s which he can barely read. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. 479 p. Candlewick Press: 2008. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012.

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