(Review) A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Publication Date: August 2, 2016 (Originally in 2011)
Pages: 240 (Movie Tie-In Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
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.
I've been a fan of Patrick Ness since I read the Chaos Walking series in 2012. He does amazing things with young characters and makes you feel all the feels. I love that this book is taken from the notes of another author and turned into something out of that. I've never read any of Siobhan Dowd's work, but I think this is a good tribute to her.
The monster comes to Connor at 12:07 and tells him that he's going to tell him three stories and then Connor will tell a story of his own. Connor, a 13-year-old boy, doesn't really get it.
His mother has cancer, his grandmother is distant, his father lives in America, and he basically has no friends. Well, he had a friend, but she told everyone about his mom and no he hates her.
As Connor goes through the days things seem to get progressively worse. There are bullies at school, his grandmother hardly speaks to him, and the monster still visits. Each time the monster visit Connor ends up more and more confused. The monster tells his stories that Connor doesn't quite understand but that we, as readers, can connect to the things that are happening in his life.
Throughout all of this he has a recurring nightmare that the monster warns will be his story to tell, though Connor refuses...until he finally gives in.
I think that, ultimately, this is a story about learning to let go. Connor has a lot of pain and anger toward himself and his mother and when he does figure out why the monster has come it's heartbreaking. The way Ness writes Connor is real and raw. You can feel the kid's pain and you just want to make it go away for him.
This book definitely left me feeling emotional. One of my favorite Ness books, by far.