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The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

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Teenage Book of the Month

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books, 2009

Books for young adults now almost invariably come in trilogies and fans of Patrick Ness are waiting with bated breath for the last in the series.

The Ask and the Answer follows the first instalment The Knife of Never Letting Go which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

As in Book 1, Ness explores the major themes of war crime, terrorism, genocide, loyalty and love in The Ask and the Answer. This time, Todd and Viola find themselves on opposing sides of a power struggle between the new mayor, now self proclaimed president and head of the 'Ask' who has renamed the town of Haven, Prentisstown after himself, and the 'Answer', a group of female healers and freedom fighters.

Todd finds himself part of the 'Ask' alongside his former enemy Davy, and Viola is part of the 'Answer'. The heroes of the trilogy arrive in the city where they had hoped to find normality and security, only to experience a dark terror gripping the population which has been forced upon them by the new leader.

This is the best in science fiction writing with the added reality of life, often brutal in its accurate portrayal of today’s society which will have the reader waiting eagerly for the final instalment in this best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy.

“The Ask and the Answer is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure.”