Book Review: A Monster Calls

Title/Author:  A Moster Calls by Patrick Ness
Inspired by the late Siobhan Dowd

Genre:  Middle Grade, Fantasy, Family

Published:  September 27th, 2011 by Candlewick Press

Hardcover, 214 pages.

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from my library.

Why I Picked It Up?:  I first heard about it via Book Smugglers, and I was fascinated by the concept.  And the cover just calls to me.  😉

Book Jacket Blurb:  “The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.”

My Review of the Work:

This review is going to be a little bit different from the norm, but it’s probably because this novel is a little bit different from the norm, too!  Why, you ask?  Because this novel is unlike any novel I have ever read.  I call it….the middle grade/young adult version of a children’s book.  Complete with pictures and life lessons, this novel provides an imaginative and fantastical story about a thirteen-year-old boy named Conor who is just trying to learn to deal with where his life is headed.

The yew tree in the church yard that he can see from kitchen window is really a monster, but not the scary kind.  The scary monsters come to Conor in his dreams, which he cannot tell anyone about:  not his sick mother, not his caring teachers, not his friend Lily, not his faraway dad, not his hard-to-get-along-with grandmother, and especially not the monster, who insists on visiting him every night at exactly 12:07am.

But rather than tell you any more about this novel, I just thought I would show you a little bit instead.  Because honestly, these illustrations will say more than I ever could.

This novel really brings you back to a time where stories with pictures took you away–and you can get that childhood feeling back when you start on this journey with Conor and the Monster.  It is a story of smiles, of intrigue, of suspense, of wonder, of love, of hope, and of acceptance.  It is a must read for any story lover.

My Bookshelf Rating:

If you have ever wondered what a “Where the Wild Things Are” book for young adults+ would look like…this is it.  It is full of beautiful illustrations that add to the imaginative story that Patrick Ness (with inspiration from Siobhan Dowd) creates in this very short novel.  If for no other reason, put it on your TBR list for the sheer brilliance and imagination that this novel holds.

Love and when imagination runs wild,


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