Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Posted October 13, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA / 2 Comments

Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick Press on September 15, 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Also by this author: More Than This


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.

I can understand now why many readers had difficulty reviewing this book now that I have read it myself.

The Story
Conor, a 13 year old boy dealing with his dying mother and absent father is visited by a monster one night who says that he will tell him three stories and then Conor will tell his story. Confused by the monster’s presence and his purpose for being there, the monster simply says:

’Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.’

Who is this monster and what is his purpose? This is the basis of the story so I won’t ruin it for those of you who have yet to read this. With that said, the monster was such a revelation to me as I was clearly anticipating something different. Not bad different, just different.

Overall Thoughts
This was a beautiful yet heartbreaking tale of a boy having to survive the hardships of life at a very young age. This is a children’s book and the writing is very simplistic and straight forward; however, it can still be fully appreciated by all, so please don’t let the targeted age group dissuade you. Be prepared to need a tissue (or give) as this is a tragic novel that will have you feeling it completely. I know I did.

After taking the advice of a GR friend (Wendy :D) I held off on reading the e-book until I got my hands on the real book. Let me tell you… the illustrations are truly amazing and brings something wonderful to this story. They are an experience in and of itself. (See her wonderful review with a few of the illustrations and a link to the webpage of illustrator, Jim Kay, here.

As I finished this book, I turned to look at my boyfriend and the look on my face must have said it all. He asks me if I’m okay. I wasn’t sure how to answer him. It brings out an abundance of emotions and makes it difficult to fully comprehend how exactly you’re feeling.

A very valuable lesson is in between the pages of this little gem. When your monster comes and visits you in the night, how will you respond? Will you turn it away and refuse to accept its existence? Or will you accept it for you and what it is? This is certainly one book that I plan on purchasing so I can go back to it time and time again. Definitely a must read for anyone.

’You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.’


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