Monday, April 30, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. 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 monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. 

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.


This book was brought to my attention by a wonderful friend who is always telling me great books to read. He did, in fact loan me his copy until mine arrived from the publisher for review. I had to struggle not to cry all over it. 

This book, at first glance, looks very much like a monster in the closet, creeping up the dark and hollow places kind of book. In some ways it is, but not like you think. 

First, there are monsters. Yes. Of course. What kind of story would it be without one? Patrick Ness has created a story that is a tribute to those dealing with bullying, grief and death. Heavy prospect. But this book does it and with a grace to its pages that left me breathless and openly sobbing as I turned the last page. I can't remember the last time a book did that for me. 

Without telling everything in the story (but oh, I really, really want to this time!) I can tell you that it is wonderful for anyone dealing with hardships in life. Grief, death, bullying, anger issues, discontent at name it, it's in there, complete with some pretty amazing artwork to boot. 

And finally, the biggest monsters may not even be the ones in the closet, or staring in through the window...they may be in the darkest recesses of our soul.


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