Ness, P. (2008). The knife of never letting go. Boston, MA: Candlewick Press.
This novel is written so that you can HEAR Todd; so that you can see Todd’s level of education; and so you can feel his emotions. It might take a little while to get with the flow, but once you do, this is an extraordinary story about innocence, maturity, loyalty, despair and sacrifice. This is the first of a trilogy, which, thankfully, have all been published. This story is about Todd, a twelve-year old boy, and his dog Manchee. They live on a planet that supposedly only has 147 remaining inhabitants, of which all are male. Just before Todd turns thirteen he learns that everything he was ever taught is a lie. There are women on his planet, there are other people on his planet, and the men of his town killed all of the women. The entire story is about Todd, Manchee, and Viola (the girl he finds that silences all of the NOISE), trying to escape the army Todd’s town has sent after him to kill him. After much chasing and violence, Manchee pays the ultimate price while helping Todd rescue Viola. Then after Viola is saved and they have almost made it to Haven, Viola is shot in the stomach! Todd races her into town only to discover that the evil he was trying to escape in the first place is already there. The first book ends with Mayor Prentiss welcoming him to NEW Prentisstown. This is an awesome book and I would recommend this novel to students who have been searching for another dystopian series after reading The Hunger Games, in grades 8th and up.