In Prentisstown, every man can hear every other mans' thoughts in a constant stream of Noise. They describe it best a couple pages into the book, where words are scribbled everywhere in different fonts and sizes and lengths. Very overwhelming, to say the least.
Todd is the last boy to reside in Prentisstown - see, in this town, once you reach the age of 13 (but actually 14 in our years), you become a man. He's the last boy because, well, you can't procreate when there aren't any women left. They all died after the Noise germ was released. But when Todd comes across a spot of silence - thought of as impossible in his town - he starts on a journey that questions everything he knows about his world.
I was iffy about this book at first, because the style of writing Patrick used is risky. I've seen it done before - when an author uses a different dialect in the text to reflect the character. But after a while, I got used to it (this is usually the case - I think a different dialect just generally takes getting used to), and really enjoyed the book. From start to end, there was a ton of suspense and a ton of mystery. I wanted to figure everything out, so I kept reading and reading, as I'm sure the author expected. It takes a certain type of mystery to intrigue me, and I think this fell into that category. Ness mastered it, in my opinion. Todd is being chased throughout the whole book; he's on the run while simultaneously trying to figure out what the hell is going on - and the reader is right there along with him. I doubt I could have put it down if an earthquake of seismic 10 proportions galloped through my house.
Since this is going to be a series, not all of my questions were answered. I hate cliffhangers, and this definitely had one, but it also wrapped up in a way that still settled your curiosity and satisfaction somewhat. There were certainly some sad bits, which I both hate and love, but overall I generally liked this book. And I'm definitely anticipating the sequel. (I looked and couldn't find any info on it - anyone know what it's called/when it's out?) Anyway, this would be an easy recommendation.