Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Review: A Monster Calls

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011
Genre: YA, Fantasy Horror

When thirteen-year-old Conor wakes up from a nightmare at exactly 12:07 one night, he sees a monster outside his window. It’s not the monster he was expecting, the one who haunts his dreams every night. This monster is made of the yew tree outside his window, and it tells Conor that over time, it will tell him three stories. Eventually Conor will tell the story of his nightmare to the monster. Conor has difficulty believing what the monster says is true, and goes on with his life. Lately, life for Conor has been a struggle. His mother has cancer and the kids at school have been bullying him ever since they learnt about his mum. As Conor continues to meet with the monster, he fears the day when he will have to share his story with him. When stories are wild things that don’t end in the way he expected, Conor fears telling his.

I picked this book by chance at my library. I’d heard praise of A Monster Calls, but wrote it off as a book that wasn’t for me. I am so happy that I gave this book a chance. It was tragic and beautiful in every way a book can be beautiful. A Monster Calls is based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who had the plot and characters for this book ready before she died. Patrick Ness used her ideas to write this book and make it his own. The illustrations were drawn by Jim Kay and they were absolutely beautiful. They captured everything wonderfully and added so much to this book. A Monster Calls is difficult to describe; I wish I could write a review that just said it’s amazing and that everyone should read it. What’s interesting about this book is that the fantasy elements and the realistic part of the plot both would have worked well on their own, but combining them made this book so unforgettable. The writing and the characters were flawless, and I thought Conor was a realistic character with a great deal of depth. The monster’s stories were absorbing and share so many great ideas about humanity and life. Overall, this was a touching book about dealing with grief and loss. This book was truly breathtaking and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.


Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”

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