October 22, 2011


amazing illustrations
This book was receiving quite a bit of Internet buzz, so I decided that I would give it a shot. I was not prepared for what was between the cover - a heartbreaking, unforgettable read.

Summary (from Goodreads):

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just 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 thoughts: 

"Stories are the wildest things of all," the monster mumbled. "Stories chase and bite and hunt."

First, let me say this - wow! I knew this was going to be an emotional read, but I was not at all prepared by how emotional I would become. If you are an empathetic reader, have a box of tissues on hand.

The storytelling in this book is absolutely solid. The entire book is a metaphor for pain that humans experience when trying to cope with the loss of a loved one. 

Connor's character presents readers with a real, raw truth. Many try to ignore the reality that surrounds them because it is too painful to even acknowledge. Readers will experience this through the bullying that occurs in the novel as well as the monster's character. 
For me, the monster was the most powerful character because of what it represents, the many elements of grief. Its representation made my heart break early in the novel.

The illustrations in the novel helped solidify the pain and chaos in Connor's life. This would have been a solid novel without them, but they do enhance the novel as a whole piece. 

There is not much more I can say about this novel. I recommend it for all readers of all ages, but I especially think it is a powerful piece for any youth experiencing loss, pain, suffering. 

"You do not write your life with words," the monster said. "You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do."

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