A boy dies. He wakes up alone in a familiar place. Is this the afterlife? There must be more than this?
Is that what hell is? Trapped forever, alone in your worst memory?
More Than This has such a strong start. It’s the final moments of a teenage boy’s life and it’s not a quiet death. Then the boy awakes and there’s a mystery as they boy tries to work out what’s going on. He is sure that he is dead and he starts to wonder if this is his personal hell.
I loved part one and felt it could have been an effective, standalone, novella about the futility of suicide. I was wondering how it would work itself out though, expecting a YA novel to give a bit more hope than leaving a boy by himself in hell for eternity. It’s definitely a book that’s hard to talk about without spoilers but I do think it becomes more hopeful.
The meaning behind the title changes as the story progresses. At the start, Seth is desperate that there is more than this to the afterlife. But it is also a message that whenever life is at its lowest there is always more than this. That life will get better and is worth living. Even the ending leaves you feeling like there could be more than this story.
Whatever happened to you down there, whatever the world looks like now, that’s not how it always looks. That’s not how it’s always going to look. There’s more. There’s always more.
When the turning point comes, it put me off a bit; it felt like a cop out as well as being all too familiar. I guess there’s still doubt over what Seth’s reality is but it completely changed the tone of the book for me. However after initial disappointment, I did start to enjoy the remainder, especially the flashbacks filling in the blanks in Seth’s choices. I do still stand by that part one is the strongest part, however half of my book group thought the opposite way; that it was slow to start but it got better from part two.
Book Source: Purchased
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