It’s taken me longer than I had hoped to finish this book, but the fact is that I’m spending a ton of my time getting ready to go back to work next week. (Next week?!?) I’ve already spent about 6 hours in my classroom moving furniture around and unpacking my library. Library first, always. It makes me feel like I’m at home. I’m super lucky this year because I get to teach another round of sixth grade at the same school I was at last year, and I’m really looking forward it!
Full disclosure on this book– it’s an upper-middle grade book, which is higher than what I’ve been posting about lately, but it is easy to read and is leveled as a 4.4. Remember that just because you CAN read something, doesn’t always mean you should, so know yourself as a reader and check with a parent if you’re not sure. It is violent and has some language in it, though most of it is the word “effing” used as an adjective. Some of the words are spelled phonetically, though it is done so you can hear the main character’s voice in your head and how his twangy accent would sound. And interestingly, hearing voices in your head is one of the main concepts of this book…
Okay, so The Knife of Never Letter Go is like a science fiction-Western story, a mash-up we don’t get too often. Settlers have come to the New World and set up a colony. They are on a planet other than Earth, because there are two moons, but everything else is very Earth-like. We meet Todd Hewitt, an almost 13-year-old (or is he 14?), who is days away from becoming a man, according to tradition. There are no women in his town after the war against the “Spackle”, alien invaders who released some sort of biological warfare upon the people. The Germ killed all the women and left behind The Noise for the men, in which everyone can hear every other person’s thoughts, all the time. Even the animals were infected with Noise and they can talk, too, which I loved, because Todd is always with his dog, Manchee. So even when Todd is alone, he always has someone to talk with, which keeps the book moving along.
But then…things happen. Todd quickly learns that everything he thought he knew is a lie. Because he is on the run, and because reading the book is like being in Todd’s Noise, in his head, this is a very urgent read. It is The Book of Never Letting Go, and I had to find out what would happen next! It was different, and I really liked it. I will continue reading this series, since it ends with a cliffhanger. There are three main books, plus a sequel.
Read this if you like dystopian stories, like Divergent or The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner, etc., but know that this one is not the same at all. It’s hard to explain, and maybe I’ll be able to do that better once I’ve read all of the books. You have to be able to be okay with reading a story and not quite knowing what is going on, which is what I find to be true about most sci-fi books. Just sit back and go for the ride, and know that the author will tell you what you need to know at the moment you need to know it. It was very suspenseful, especially with the author’s writing style, and it kept me pushing through. Check it out!
The Knife of Never Letting Go has an AR level of 4.4 and is worth 16 points.