Written by: Hanan Ulusow – Grade 10
“Men lie, and they lie to themselves worst of all.”
Our minds are constantly being bombarded by random, mundane thoughts, yet we rarely stop to think about what would happen if we had to deal with everyone else’s emotions and ideas. Patrick Ness decided to think about just that. The pure uniqueness of this book will suck you in, and everything around you will almost cease to exist.
The story is in the point of view of an uneducated 12 year old boy named Todd Hewitt. It frequently mentions his companion Viola, and the dog he never wanted, Manchee. It all takes place on an alien planet named simply as “The New World”. Since Todd had grown up as a simple farm boy, throughout the book there are many intentional spelling errors put there by the author to give more of a genuine feel to the book. This also helps to make the story seem all the more authentic. On this world, there is a disease supposedly released by a native alien species called the Spackle, that allows people to hear everyone else’s thoughts in a never-ending stream, called Noise. The catch is that this disease only affects the males of any species and all women die as soon as they come into contact with it.
Another thing that I loved about this book was that the only information the reader knew of this foreign world was whatever Todd himself was made to believe, and throughout the book you start to realize how many times the main character has been deceived, until you start to question whether anything the boy had been told from the beginning is true. As Todd is the youngest person in a town that is seemingly destined to die a slow death, his thirteenth birthday, the day he finally turns into a man, is much more important than he could ever envision it to be. A secret has been hidden that will unravel on his birthday. It’s a secret that will break the heart of the reader and leave you on the edge of your seat throughout the story.
In this story we are quick to realize that Noise can lie and we as humans lie to ourselves more than anyone else. This story will truly make you think about the impact your actions have on the people around you, but is filled with dark themes. If you are looking for a riveting and eye-opening read, I fully recommend this book to you.