Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Pages: 206 (paperback)
Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
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Summary: “At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth”.
A Monster Calls follows the story about Conor, a 13 year-old boy who is trying to come to terms with her mother’s illness. One night a monster calls to him, demanding something from Conor: the truth. This story is extraordinary, is not just about grief and loss; with a beautiful and poetical writing Patrick Ness crafts this tale about coming to terms with and accepting the aforementioned grief and loss.
Everything about A Monster Calls is deeply captivating. I started it last night and only read 23 pages because I was tired and I wanted to be fully awake to appreciate the story. So this morning I picked it up again and didn’t put it down until I turned the very last page and not because I didn’t have stuff to do – I did actually – but I just couldn’t. The story gripped me and I couldn’t let go. It’s also true that the book is not a big one but with its mere 200 pages manages to get into the reader’s heart and then, shatters it to pieces, both in a good and a bad way. I was a complete wreck after finishing it. I didn’t even notice I was crying while reading after, well, my vision started to get blurry. And after reading the last sentence I just stood there, with the book in my hands, trying to process the beautiful story I’d just finished. And I reread the last few pages over and over again until my mum found me, crying, and by that I mean a really bad case of ugly sobbing, and I’m not embarrassed to say – it’s not the first time she has found me like that, really. So, do you want a piece of advice? Get Kleenex first and don’t read it in public, especially if you are a crier like me. And we need to speak about the illustrations as well because they are a huge part of the reading experience. They basically help bring the story to life and add a disturbing yet fascinating aspect to the whole plot.
Regarding the characters, it was very easy to just feel for them. Conor was a brave kid with such responsibility over his shoulders that it was impossible not to like him. His mother was a true fighter and his grandmother, though she may seem cold and distant was just trying to stay strong for all of them. And the monster? He was powerful and scary but kind and loving at the same time. A true gem of a character, as well as the others.
I can’t say anything bad about this because there isn’t. A Monster Calls is the first book I’ve read by Patrick Ness but it won’t be the last one. The execution of this story was brilliantly done and I’m pretty sure I’ll be thinking about it for days. The last thing I want to say? Do yourself a favour: READ IT, YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED.
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