by Patrick Ness
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2009 (orig. pub. 2008).
Todd is nearly a man - he'll be thirteen thirteen-month years. He is the last boy of the community in Prentisstown, a town of all men who have Noise, a condition which means that all your thoughts are heard by the community, a germ that Todd was told caused all the women to die. But when Todd learns that what he has been told all his life may not be true, he has to re-evaluate everything he has taken for granted for the past thirteen years. How many secrets do the men of Prentisstown keep?
Todd is our first-person narrator - we're in his head, as if we're hearing his Noise clear as day, with all his dialect (words like "yer" and "attenshun") and confusion about what's really going on with Prentisstown. At first, I found it distracting, but I soon became caught up in Todd's plight and flight, and I had difficulty putting the book down. The plot is fast-paced, the details about this science fictional world are rich, the characters are so believable I hurt for them at times. If you're cliff-hanger averse, I recommend having book 2 ready as soon as you finish!
This was meant to be a "book off the shelf" - reading a book of my own, rather than a library book (my goal is to read 20 this year). Unfortunately (?), it looks like as long as I like the remaining books in the series, I will be adding two more to the shelves instead.