More Than This

Book review by
Joanna H. Kraus, Common Sense Media
More Than This Book Poster Image
Gripping story of a teen who confronts his own private hell.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will see how, in a deserted world, three teens learn to survive.

Positive Messages

Seth, who blames himself for his brother's tragedy, matures enough to believe in himself, show courage, gain a will to understand and forgive, and a desire to live. "If there really is more to life," he says, "I want to live all of it."

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three major characters all show grit and strength. Seth is brave and loyal to his new friends. Tomasz is wise and incredibly resourceful. Regine is tough but caring.


There's a great deal of violence, primarily on the part of the three teens who must battle with the "Driver" but also in scenes of their tragic memories. There's a kidnapping, a suicide, and child abuse. The so-called Driver is an electronic creature that resembles a faceless human. It's programmed to hunt down the fugitives and destroy them. It also burns property and injures the teens as they frantically try to flee from capture.



Some references to sex and a few explicit scenes between two teen boys, which are handled tastefully.


"S--t," "bitch," "d--khead," "Jesus" (used as a swear word), "goddammit."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character smokes, and the teens drink small amounts of beer and wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that More Than This by two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness (A Monster Calls, the Chaos Walking trilogy) is a challenging, provocative, dystopian novel that raises questions philosophers have debated for centuries: What is existence? What's real? What's fact and what's imagined? The novel has a lot of violence, including a kidnapping, a suicide, child abuse, and a violently destructive electronic being that must be battled. There's also a love affair between two teen boys with a few explicit sex scenes that are handled tastefully, and some strong language ("s--t," "bitch," "d--khead," "goddammit," "Jesus" used as a swear word).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarlon L. March 2, 2018

There isn't a sex scene

As with all books written by the wonderful and highly skilled Patrick Ness, all adult themes within this book are handled with maturity. Please don't stop... Continue reading
Adult Written byreubli August 12, 2014

Immediately engaging - but sexually graphic in parts

This book has an intense beginning that makes it quite gripping and has a feel very much like the movie, The Matrix. Overall, my son and I liked the book and ch... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 15, 2015

Great Book!

I am age 11 and a half and I read and finished this book yesterday and was stunned by the thrilling quality of this book.
Over all, the story line is gre... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydean_chaudhri July 18, 2017

Stunning but plot can be confusing or hard to get your head round at times

I have just finished this book and thought it was amazing!!! It was so thrilling and I could not put it down. One thing to watch out for is the violence though.... Continue reading

What's the story?

An English boy named Seth drowns and, strangely enough, wakes up -- naked but alive. Where is he? What's happened? MORE THAN THIS shifts between what seems to be Seth's own private hell and his past life in England before he moved to the United States. At first he seems to be totally alone in an abandoned and destroyed world. Then he meets two other teens, and together they try to solve the mystery that surrounds them -- and to avoid capture by the menacing Driver, who perpetually hunts them.

Is it any good?

Award-winning author Patrick Ness's treacherous journey of three teens in torment is certainly worth reading, reflecting on, and discussing. More Than This is tense and often confusing as it shifts between what Seth thinks is hell and what he thinks is his past: "Every time he blinks he sees his memories before him, so clear and vivid it's as if he's switching back and forth between this world and that one." As he slowly begins to comprehend what's happened, the anguish he faces and the determination to conquer it mounts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about dystopian novels. Why is the theme of a dystopian future so popular in books and movies? What other dystopian novels have you read?

  • How does the media treat homosexuality? Compare how it's treated today with 15 years ago.

  • What do different cultures and religions believe happens when a person dies? What do you believe?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction and dystopian novels

Themes & Topics

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