The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer

Written by Patrick Ness

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Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010.

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.

CILIP CARNEGIE Medal SHORTLIST 2010: Judges’ comments

A visceral and compelling story of incredible power which combines some fantastic writing with intelligent consideration of some important issues: the nature of war, terrorism and the treatment of women. A challenging novel which really lives inside your head.

Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009 - the judges acclaimed it as “a major achievement in the making”

Shortlisted for the Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009.


The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

This title is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure.

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.

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 to 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...


"Ness is a young writer of exciting quality and unpredictability." The Times

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.

Here is an interview with Patrick Ness where he talks about his new book The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

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.

Click here to read a Q&A with Patrick Ness

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Book Info


Interest Age: 16 years +


Patrick Ness
More books by Patrick Ness

Author's Website


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd May 2013




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