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The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer

Part of the Chaos Walking Series
NewGen - YA Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   
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Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2009.

Costa Book Awards 2009 Judges' comment: "A strikingly original and compelling work."

Shortlisted for the prestigious Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009.

Prize-winning author Patrick Ness follows up The Knife of Never Letting Go with equally hard hitting The Ask and the Answer. Trying to escape, Todd and Viola fall into the hands of Mayor Prentiss. Separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd can tell there are some deep and dark secrets outside the town. Who are the mysterious Answer? As gripping as The Knife of Never Letting Go, this is a tough but compelling story which takes readers into shocking and moving territory.

Titles on this year’s Teenage Book of the Year Award shortlist include:

Auslander by Paul Dowswell

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray

The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

If you like Patrick Ness you might also like to read books by Rob Ewing and kevin brooks.


The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men. Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced t learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode. The Ask and the Answer is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy.


I think you'll just have to trust me when I say that this book is worth reading. It's grim, yes, but so well written that it's acceptable. I would recommend this to all teenagers. I don't care about your book preferences. This is worth a read, I promise. Five stars - I couldn't give it less. The Guardian Online

About the Author

Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. His father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. He lived in Hawaii until he was almost six, spent the ten years after that in suburban Washington state, and then on to Los Angeles, where he studied English Literature at the University of Southern California.

His main job after graduating was as corporate writer at a cable company, writing manuals, form letters and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival (this is true). If you're American and hated your cable company, he probably wrote you a letter of apology.

He got his first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on his first novel when he moved to London in 1999. He's lived here ever since. Sometimes he teaches creative writing but mostly he tries to write 1,000 words a day, 'come hell or high water'.

In May 2008, he published The Knife of Never Letting Go, his first book for young adults. It won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize and he hasn't looked back since. Click here to read a Q&A with Patrick.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Patrick Ness

1. He has a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. He has run two marathons.
3. He is a certified scuba diver.
4. He wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. He has never been to New York City but...
6. He has been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. He got accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. He was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. He is no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will he eat onions.

Author photo © Helen Giles

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Book Info

Publication date

7th September 2009


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Walker Books Ltd


576 pages
Interest Age: From 14


NewGen - YA Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners

Science fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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