More Than This by Patrick Ness
Published: September 10th, 2013 (Candlewick Press)
Buy the book: Bookdepository
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...
We read More Than This for book club all the way back in October of 2013, but I spent so much time going back and forth with this review that I never actually posted it. It has been sitting in draft for well over a year, waiting to be posted. This book has really messed with my head so it's actually quite fitting that it took me so long to actually post this review.
First up, let me start off by saying this was probably the hardest review to write in the history of EVER because it messed with my head so much I didn't actually know what to think when I finished. That made it an excellent start for book club, because there was so much to be discussed. But honestly, my brain really didn't know what to do with this one. There were things I didn't (fully) understand, whether that was Ness' intention or not. More Than This just really got into my head and messed it up -- I made a 'mindfuckery' shelf on Goodreads for this book alone. Nuff said, right?
Ness' writing is excellent as always. Within the first 100 pages I was completely paranoid because of the creepiness of a particular character. I was reading while it was dark out, I was home alone, and suddenly every little sound had me on edge. I was so jumpy at one point that I was completely creeped out when I had to take a shower. Yeah, I know. But this is really an example of how much you get dragged into the story: you are there. You experience it. It gets into your head, and doesn't let go for a while after you put the book down.
I loved that pretty much anything was possible and you had no clue where it was going. I know I didn't, and I was on the edge of my seat all the way to the end, and to be honest, even after that. I haven't seen The Matrix or Inception, to which I hear More Than This is similar, so I can't say how they compare. But I can say I absolutely loved the fact that pretty much everything was open to interpretation, even the ending.
So long story short: I can't actually tell too much about the story itself because everything is a possible spoiler. The story is so well written, so carefully woven together, that you can't help but fall in face first and enjoy the ride. It'll make you paranoid, confused, it may even mess with your head. But you'll enjoy it, and afterwards you'll be left wondering.. What just happened?