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More Than This
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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).
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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