Friday, February 23, 2018

[BOOK REVIEW] A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness





Title:  A Monster Calls

Author:  Patrick Ness

Artist: Jim Kay

Genre:  Fantasy / Horror / Drama

Year Published: 2011

Number of Pages: 205 pages 

Date Read: 2/23/2018

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 12+ (Some Disturbing Imagery and Language)


“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.” 

Alright, I had actually been hearing about Patrick Ness’ hit book “A Monster Calls” for many years and I have been trying to read it ever since, but I never had the time to!  Now, I finally got the chance to read this book (especially after the movie has been released) and oh man, you will be both shocked and crying after you get through with this unique gem!

The story starts off with a young boy named Conor O’Malley, who was suffering from an intense nightmare where he was engulfed in darkness and he was holding onto the hands of someone he cares about, except that he accidentally let the person’s hand go and the person ends up falling to their death.  The nightmares started when Conor’s mother ended up getting cancer and she has to go through numerous treatments to treat her cancer.  Unfortunately, the treatments were not working well and the worse Conor’s mother’s condition got, the more Conor pushed away everyone who is trying to help him through this, including his divorced father and his former best friend Lily.  It was then that Conor subconsciously called upon a monster to help him through this ordeal and in order to help out Conor, the monster tells Conor that he will tell three stories and that Conor must tell the fourth story himself.  However, the monster warns Conor that telling the fourth story will not be easy as it will cause lots of pain for Conor.

Will Conor tell the fourth tale and will his mother survive her cancer?

Read this book to find out!

Wow…just wow…How could I wait this long to read this unique gem!?  Patrick Ness has done a spectacular job at writing this book as the narrative is both emotional and intense to read through and I was sitting on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what the monster’s motives are and whether or not Conor’s mother will survive her cancer.  I liked the fact that Patrick Ness wrote this story in dedication to Siobhan Dowd, who had died from cancer herself before she was able to complete this story and I really enjoyed the twists and turns that Patrick Ness spin into this tale as it made the narrative extremely unpredictable at times and that is what has gotten me so interested in this story!  I have also noticed some parallels with this story and Joe Kelly’s fantastic graphic novel “I Kill Giants” where both protagonists have to deal with their parents being ill and how their insecurities about their parents’ conditions take on monstrous forms.  Jim Kay’s artwork is probably what sold this book to me as they were truly frightening to look at and I just loved the way that everything is done in shadows as it gives the story a truly mysterious feel.  I also loved the images of the monster itself as it truly looked like what I expected a yew tree monster to look like and the images where it looms over Conor are truly terrifying!

For anyone who does not like disturbing imagery, there are some images in this book that are truly frightening, especially the images of the monster itself.  Also, there is some language in this book, although it is not that strong, with only a few mutters of the “h” word being said.


Overall, “A Monster Calls” is truly intense yet beautiful tale about accepting the harsh realities of life that every fantasy and horror fan should definitely check out!  Of course, be forewarned about the ending…it will make you cry a thousand times over before you finished this book!


* 2011 Galaxy British Book Awards for Children's Book of the Year
* 2011 Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Novel
* 2011 The Kitschies for Red Tentacle (Novel)
* 2011 Galaxy National Book Award for Children's Book of the Year
* 2011 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children's
* 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Literature
* 2012 Kate Greenaway Medal
* 2012 Red House Children's Book Award
* 2012 The Inky Awards Shortlist for Silver Inky
* 2012 Carnegie Medal
* 2012 The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky
* 2012 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for Preis der Jugendjury & Nominierung Kategorie Kinderbuch
* 2012 Prix Elbakin.net for Meilleur roman fantasy traduit Jeunesse
* 2013 Prix Imaginales for Jeunesse
* 2013 Grampian Children's Book Award Nominee
* 2014 Gouden Lijst for vertaald boek
* 2015 Lincoln Award Nominee


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