By Patrick Ness (Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd)
Hardcover, 215 pages
Candlewick Press, September 2011
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.
From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
If you like Jeffers' The Heart and the Bottle (Check out our review here), you may enjoy this one too. It's a similar message but on a larger, more insightful scale.
A Monster Calls is a deep and beautiful tale which I almost didn't read because of the title and cover; I tend to shy away from "scary" stories and not really knowing anything about the book, from the looks of the cover and title, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it.
Well, the title describes it perfectly and yet it does not. And the story is scary and yet it isn't.
This is one story that I hesitant to share too much about because the story is so beautifully written and the themes so true. Everyone can relate because we all have monsters. We may not all be in Connor's specific story, but we all share similar stories of sadness, pain, fear, and truth. It's a story both sweet and bitter.
There was only one part that I didn't fully understand; the monster wanted to make a point about spoiler (invisibility--but Why did the monster need to instigate such brutality on the bully? Was it just an extension of Conor's inner anger?)
Overall, such a deep deep reflection on the fragility of our souls and the healing power of truth.
Note: Patrick Ness took inspiration for this story from Siobhan Dowd, who recently passed away. I appreciated that the story was written by Ness and not a mimic of Dowd's writing. It makes it more real this way.
Note #2: Make sure you have a box of tissues with you....
Rated 5 Bittersweet Bites