The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Title:  The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author:  Patrick Ness
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
Published:  September 2008
Pages:  479
Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Source:  Library


The Knife of Never Letting Go follows Todd Hewitt, who is twelve years old and the youngest person in his entire town.  You see, several years ago a germ was inflicted upon the town, killing all of the women and most of the men.  And Todd is a boy now, but he’s going to become a man in just a few months.  This germ, called the Noise, also caused all of the surviving men to be able to hear every single one of each other’s thoughts.  One day, while playing in a part of the swamp that is forbidden to him, Todd stumbles across something that causes him to question everything he’s ever known about his life.  And what he finds forces him to be on the run from the mayor of his town.  Just him and his faithful dog Manchee, on the run from the most powerful people Todd has ever known.

The thing is that I don’t want to tell you anything more about this book than the above paragraph.  I actually would prefer to tell you nothing about it, but I think a short plot summary is in order so that you are intrigued enough to want to pick it up.  Because you definitely should pick it up.  This novel is gritty and intense and unlike anything I’ve read before.

The difficult thing is that I’m not able to point out what EXACTLY is so great about the book.  I will say that there is so much love in these pages, in the weirdest possible places.  Like a dog that talks, and therefore can tell his owner exactly how much he means to him with just one word.  Or a stranger who suddenly becomes Todd’s only friend in the entire world, to the point where he completely depends upon her and must trust her with his life.  And there’s a lot of pain in here too.  The one scene, if you’ve read it you know exactly what I’m talking about, oh my goodness did my heart get ripped out of my chest.  I can’t even tell you how much that part of the book broke me up inside.  But there’s so much faith and hope in these pages, too.  It’s a crazy contrast where you think all is lost one minute, and the next minute there’s a new development and things start to look up, but no wait more bad is happening and it can’t possibly get any better.  This novel is a thrill ride like no other.

And the ending.  WTF.  I’m in serious need of book 2 after that ending.

All I can say is that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with this book, in a good way.  It is a wonderful story with amazing characters that you will be completely unable to forget.  Highly recommended.

Here are some of the (many) more reviews of The Knife of Never Letting Go.

24 thoughts on “The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness”

  1. after reading ‘the hunger games’ and ‘catching fire’, i’ve been on the lookout for additional dystopian YA novels…this one looks like it fits the bill!

    thanks for not giving too much away–i’m intrigued but the story isn’t ruined for me!

  2. “Intense” is the PERFECT word for this book. I swear it nearly killed me! And as horrible as that sounds, it’s a good thing! But, well, I’m sure you know EXACTLY what I mean.

  3. Heather. Honey. If you think that ending was crazy cliffhangery and whoa baby what the heck just happened – wait until you read The Ask and the Answer!

    And I totally know the scene you are talking about and I literally screamed know at that book. It just ripped. My. Heart. OUT. I sobbed and I freely admit that I sobbed.

    I can’t put my finger exactly on just what it is that makes me love these books so hard, but I do. I love them so hard. I can not WAIT for Monsters of Men.

    Great review and I am SO GLAD you loved it!!

    1. Haha, GREAT. Just what I need – another insane cliffhanger! I’m so excited to read The Ask and the Answer, though, so let’s everybody cross our fingers that the library gets it to me soon!! 🙂

      I cried at that part, too. And then for a long while after, no matter what was happening in the book I would randomly start thinking about that part and get sad again. Not fair.

  4. So glad to see others talking about this book, which was the best book I’ve read in 2009 (and I’m a bookseller/sales rep, so I read a LOT). At the scene we’ve been discussing, I freely admit I cried like a baby, and it’s hardly the only heartbreaking scene in the book–just the worst. I loved Knife so much that I ordered The Ask and the Answer from England, just so I’d have it in May instead of September, and I’m going to do the same with Monsters of Men. Yes, A&A has a cliffhanger every bit as bad as the one in Book One, maybe even worse (I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say Todd ends this book as he did the first one–catastrophically screwed). A&A is a very different book in some ways, especially in pacing–it’s not the relentless chase that Knife was. A&A is rich and complicated and seething with political subtext, and Ness is way too good a writer to demonize or sanctify either side in the conflict.

  5. Oh….I read this last month and felt exactly the same way. It’s amazing how your review and mine kind of mirrors each other!!

    I got The Ask and the Answer in from the library last week, but I’m almost afraid to read it. Sound weird? TKONLG just took so much out of me…I was drained by the time it was over!!

  6. Read this one on your recommendation Heather, and I loved it. I had two goes at it to get started – the first time I was a bit distracted I think, but once I’d read those first couple of chapters, I was hooked.

    It was a bit like the first time I read the last Harry Potter book, I was so eager to find out what was going to happen that I read it really fast, almost skimming it in some parts, and I had to tell myself to slow down and take it all in properly! It’s an amazing book and I can’t wait to read book 2. I think I have a couple of book vouchers coming my way for Christmas – I know what I’ll be spending them on!

    Thanks for your review, and your recommendation!

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m so glad you read it and enjoyed it so much. I did that quick reading thing with this book too, just like in the last HP. 🙂 I’d love to read this one again, actually. I hope you get to The Ask and the Answer soon because in my opinion, that is even better than TKoNLG. Much more character development in addition to action!

      1. Sounds great. I’m actually heading to the shops today to grab book 2, and they damn well better be open! I need to find out what happens NOW!

  7. “The one scene, if you’ve read it you know exactly what I’m talking about, oh my goodness did my heart get ripped out of my chest.”

    I have never encountered a punctuation mark that could break my heart. But that one did.

    In the past 2 years, this has become my go to “present” book, and easily my most recommended. Though his new book “A Monster Calls” might just trump it…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s