Book Review: More Than This

Here is the boy, drowning.

BOOM. How's that for an unforgettable first line? As soon as I read the shocking first chapter, I was hooked.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

Because I absolutely loved Patrick Ness's incredible Chaos Walking trilogy, I pre-ordered More Than This as soon as I knew it existed. So soon, in fact, that by the time it showed up on my e-reader, I had no idea what it was about anymore. But because it was Patrick Ness, I just started reading blind, which turned out to be such a fun way to experience this mind-bending book.

I love a good unpredictable story, and for most of this book, I was happily uncertain where in the world things were going. I would start to think this was a certain kind of story, and then the author would zag to the left and turn everything on its head. It has parts that are thrilling, funny, and terribly sad, but in the end, it's a thoughtful reflection on reality--both the reality of what life really is, and how your perception of someone else can be completely skewed from what that person's reality actually is. I highly recommend this unique, exciting novel.

Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.