The Knife of Never Letting Go

by Patrick Ness

Reading Age: 12+

Interest level: 12+

by Patrick Ness

Winner of the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, the story begins in a small town where women have been banished and only men remain. Due to a virus, everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, which they call 'Noise'.


Todd Hewitt, the last boy in the town, is on the brink of manhood. Forced one day to flee through a nearby swamp, he stumbles upon a patch of silence and – surprisingly – the first girl he has ever seen. Despite their initial mistrust of each other, Todd and Viola team up to evade the men who are chasing him. As they flee he discovers much about himself, his family, about friendship and about prejudice.


The first in a series, this enthralling sci-fi novel grips readers throughout, presenting them with tough questions about identity, ethics and the nature of truth.


Publisher: Walker Books

About the author

  • Patrick Ness

    Patrick grew up in the US and studied English Literature at the University of Southern California. He moved to London in 1999. Since then he has published four novels. The Knife of Never Letting Go won numerous awards, including the Book Trust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, and the 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award. In January 2010 he won the 2009 Costa Book Award for the category children's book for The Ask and the Answer. He has also written a novel and a collection of short stories for adults, although he prefers not to categorise his writing in this way.

    He taught creative writing at Oxford University and has written and reviewed for The Daily Telegraph, The TLS, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian.


    Patrick Ness was Book Trust's first-ever online writer in residence.


    Read an interview with Patrick

    Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness

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Average rating: 4/5

What you thought

It sounds like a good book I really want to get my hands on it so I can read it

Rating: 4 star
Never you mind
25 May 2017


Rating: 5 star
The Oasis, in his castle
12 January 2017

This book is really good. It grips you from the start and keeps the tension all the way to the end. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 star
16 November 2016

Must read book!

Rating: 5 star
3 October 2014

This book is really really good! I recommend it to pretty much everyone over the age of 11.

Rating: 5 star
The Northern Hemisphere
5 September 2014

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Average rating: 4/5