A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Review

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Title: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★1/2
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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.


My Review: 

I, like others, expected A Monster Calls to be a scary, horror filled read that was still appropriate for middle schoolers. I don't really like reading middle school fiction unless I've read them before for the nostalgia factor since I have a hard time focusing and connecting with pre-teen coming of age because I've been through it already and it's a sentiment firmly left in the past. However, sometimes I will read a novel in this genre due to its reception and A Monster Calls definitively has a strong and mostly positive reception.

This short illustrated novel tells the story of Conor, a little boy whose mother is currently in chemotherapy for her cancer. His dad is nowhere to be found and he has been having a consistent nightmare which he tells no one about. Then, he meets the monster.

I had a theory on who the monster was (that he was a manifestation of Conor's subconscious in order to cope with the trauma of his mother) but it turned out that the monster was real enough, at least in Conor's eyes anyway.

I thought the story was heartfelt and honest and I had empathy for what Conor was going through.  It's a very nice story with a good moral lesson.
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