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  • Published: Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2008.
  • Year Published: 2008
  • Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
  • Description: 479 p.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

Reading Level

  • Lexile: 860

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9780763639310 (hardcover : alk. paper)
  • 0763639311 (hardcover : alk. paper)
  • 0763645761



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The knife of never letting go

by Ness, Patrick, 1971-

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Where To Find It

Call number: Teen Fiction

Additional Details

Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

Community Reviews

Well done & very nuanced

A very well-written first installment of a YA trilogy. I think what I liked best about this was that we only learn about New World as Todd does as he leaves his home community and ventures into the larger world, into a place that is entirely different from what he has been told existed while he was growing up. Because he narrates the story, we not only learn about it as he does, but get to experience his struggle to incorporate the contradictory information into his understanding. The author does a phenomenal job with this.

The whole universe that the author creates is fascinating and nuanced. I love the idea that the planet was settled, but that the original plans were scrapped in favor of having to do what made sense. But we get a sense of how different this is because of... well, another character who comes into the story and expects a different level of development to exist. It's a great juxtaposition. This would be a great book to read with a young reader and have a discussion about. I'll wait a couple of years with Alex, because there are some losses that feel like a little too much for him, but in another couple of years (maybe 13 yo), it'll be great.

I wasn't surprised by most of the things that were the "big reveals" in the last few chapters, but it was a YA book, and I do have an adult lifetime of reading. They were still well done.

The one thing I personally absolutely cannot stand is that the book ends with a chapter-ending-type cliffhanger. That appalls me. Let the book be the book. It's fine if it's clear that there will be more to the story, but at least wrap up this piece. I knocked it down an entire star just for that.


Usually I get very annoyed at all the dystopian novels out there, but this stands out. It's original and has believable characters.


I don't read much science fiction, but this was very enjoyable. It kept my interest and kept me wondering til the (cliffhanger) end. Glad I realized it had sequels, or I would have been driven crazy by the ending!


great book it's just amazing. I can't wait to read the second one

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