A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Thirteen year old Connor is having a recurring nightmare that leaves him waking up in a cold sweat and panting. But the monster who begins to show up after midnight is not the one from his nightmares…this one is something different. Something older, more ancient, and much more powerful.
Present day England….Connor is the sole child to a single mother who is fighting a losing battle with cancer. At the beginning of the story, Connor seems to be in denial about the seriousness and gravity of his mother’s health. His mother’s sickness isn’t Connors only struggle though….he’s also dealing with feeling ignored by both his peers as well as his father, a man who ran off to America with his new wife and young baby.
Then, suddenly a monster begins to visit Connor shortly after midnight to tell him stories. This monster both scares and intrigues Connor as it seems, at times, to take over Connor’s thoughts and actions. The monster appears because Connor has unknowingly called for him….and it will be up to Connor, himself, to figure out what the monster wants from him.
“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.”
I was pleasantly surprised by this book….and the more I sit and reflect about it, the more I find I enjoyed it. I’m not really sure what I was expecting….because, technically I think this is meant for a younger audience (maybe around the age of the main character….13 or so). However, it’s written in a way that both young and old alike will enjoy this story and get something wonderful from it. A Monster Calls is a very sad and emotional story about love, loss and grief. Connor, at the age of 13, must learn to accept and deal with the fact that sometimes life isn’t fair and that sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.
“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
A Monster Calls is beautifully written with fantastic imagery and emotion all wrapped up into a smaller package. At just over 200 pages, it’s a short and quick read that grabs you right from the beginning. This emotional roller coaster of a book is one I highly recommend for readers both young (12+) and old alike. The style of this book reminds me very much of the writing style of Neil Gaiman…which is maybe another reason of why I enjoyed it so much.
A Monster Calls will also be a feature length film adaptation releasing in the US on December 23, 2016! Liam Neeson plays the voice of the Monster and I’m thinking the casting director couldn’t have picked a better voice….super excited to see this one!
*** Even though Patrick Ness is the author of the book, he explains near the end that the idea for the story was actually one by Siobhan Dowd. She came up with the idea of the story as she was losing her own battle with breast cancer.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
A Monster Calls – Amazon