A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Published: September 27, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade
Format: Hardcover (215 pages)
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.
The beautiful first line of A Monster Calls drew me into the story.
The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
– Patrcik Ness, A Monster Calls
But the best part is that what comes next is not what I expected. It’s a bittersweet story about a boy facing something that is scarier than monsters. The monster is scary, yet endearing. A Monster Calls is kind of like A Christmas Carol since the monster comes to teach him something – and it’s not lessons in kindness. Instead of showing him his past, present, and future he tells him stories that have very unconventional endings.
Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?
– Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls
I would call this book mild horror. It has a Princess Bride vibe since the kid gives sassy commentary about the monster’s story while he’s telling it. I guess even ancient monsters can get impatient with boys who ask too many questions.
Some people might call the ending “open-ended.” I would not. I think it ended perfectly. If you think about the conflict of the story, it does resolve it but leaves the rest up to your imagination. Kind of. You know what happens next.
I loved this book. Beautiful illustrations. Beautiful symbolism. Get it in print to appreciate the art inside.
Overall – beautiful, bittersweet, moving. You need to read this book.
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