Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Source: Library (Hardcover)
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 one 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 is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
It’s a rare moment when I pick up a book blind based SOLELY on the recommendations of others — and actually like it. Honestly, I had NO idea what to expect from this book. I thought, “Is it horror?” because it has to do with a monster, perhaps perfect for my Halloween reading, but while a monster is present in the story, it’s a different kind of horror that rears its ugly head.
The horror of grief.
I kind of loved this book. From the main character, Conor, to the monster, to Conor’s mother, to his grandmother, to the illustrations that grace the pages … it was just such a brilliant book and I can’t believe that I never thought to read it when I first started seeing amazing reviews.
The thing about Conor is that he’s kind of a smart kid. If I were him and a monster was whispering my name, I would be terrified! But Conor has other things to be scared about, things that he’s trying to bottle up and not admit. His mother is sick with cancer.
My heart completely broke, shattering into a million pieces while reading this story. I felt for Conor and wanted to know the significance of the stories the monster told him. I laughed at his snarkiness, felt his pain when he’d think of his mum, and completely lost it by the end.
I also love that the story isn’t based on an idea of Patrick Ness, but an idea by Siobhan Dowd, a writer who eventually succumbed to cancer and was unable to write the story herself. Patrick Ness wanted to write a story she would write and a story she would like. I can only hope that Siobhan is proud of this publication.
For any children who might be going through a period of grief, this is the PERFECT book to open up a dialogue. Not only is it charming and beautiful, but Patrick Ness weaves in an amazing story with wonderful characters. It would be well worth the read for anyone of any generation. This book has been nominated for many, many awards and I have to say that it is completely deserving of every one. Highly recommended!