I have been a fan of Patrick Ness since I happened to come across his book, “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” the first book in his “Chaos Walking” series. He captures the feelings of those of us who suffered from the very real angst in our teens of, “Why don’t I easily fit in like others seem to? Why I am I always filled with self-doubt? Where is my place in life if I can’t be easily slotted into the jock, geek, beautiful cheerleader, or ugly-duckling-turned-into-most-popular-person role? How do I know which adults and friends to trust, and which ones are just using me or blowing smoke to manipulate me?
In this book, Patrick Ness explores the feelings of Seth, who remembers drowning a violent death, but then suddenly wakes up “naked, thirsty, and starving.” The rest of the book details Seth trying to remember why he died – an accident? suicide? – and whether he can forgive himself or others who may have impacted his short time in the “real world.”
One thing that Ness does well is to toss in LBTGQ characters who affect the plot, but only in minor ways. Sexting in high school can have repercussions when details get spread around, whether the are same-sex or opposite-sex. My only small quibble with the book is how Seth, who was kind of a normal/wuss/coward in his previous life, suddenly always goes in swinging whenever he encounters a serious threat. There didn’t seem to be any explanation for this transformation.
Overall, this is one of Patrick Ness’ better books. Five stars.
Note: My first CBR review. Please feel free to send feedback or let me know what I’ve done incorrectly. This is cross posted on my blog.