This is such a completely original and unique idea that it's practically impossible not to like the plot or the characters.
It tells the story of Todd, who is almost a "man" (ie. thirteen) in his home in Prentisstown. And as he's just a month away from becoming one, he comes across an area of complete silence in the Noise, which is impossible.
Noise is the thoughts of everyone in the town, the thoughts that everyone else can hear. And it's everywhere. So once the Mayor finds out Todd knows about this area of silence, he sets the entire town after him.
So Todd, with only his dog Manchee as company and a book from his dads, flees from Prentisstown. To explore the rest of New World. And what he finds is only what the stories he'd been told as a kid were about...
Viola and Todd were great protagonists who worked so well together, despite the fact that they'd only just met. This is a credit to Ness, as it shows just how marvellous his writing skill is. How he's capable of making two characters have two different lives before meeting and yet fitting together like they're pieces of a puzzle.
Bravo, to be really honest. I just can't wait to read the sequel - it's in my hands right now!!