Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

In A Monster Calls, Conor unwittingly calls a monster to his aid, but he doesn’t really understand why. His mother is dying of cancer, and he thinks perhaps the monster is there to save her. Instead, the monster tells him three tales, meant to illustrate his purpose. Conor doesn’t understand, and I admit that I didn’t quite understand either until it was explained at the end.

This story is about grief and fear. It’s heavy but wonderful. Conor is wrestling with emotions we all have faced or will have to face one day. The monster helps him deal with his secret truth – which I was unable to guess. I flew through this short book needing to know what Conor was hiding.

Jim Kay has illustrated the hardcover version, and the images are dark and perfectly match the tone of this story. Patrick Ness wrote this story from an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who died before she could finish her version of the book. I had never heard of Siobhan, but as Ness recommended, I am now going to seek out her work.

The movie version of this story comes out in December, and I was anxious to read the book first. I am curious to see how they do with it. Based on the preview, it seems like it will be pretty well done.

Rating: 4 Stars

A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness
Middle Grade Fiction
Walker Books
September 27, 2011

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.

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    1. The book was not what I was expecting, and I know they’ll have to add to the story to make it a full movie. The preview makes it seem like it will be very well made. We had a fun book club discussion on this book last night. And I think despite the sad story line, I will likely let Christopher see this movie.

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