Review: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (Sept. 2011)

Conor has had the same nightmare every night since his mother began her treatments. But one night he wakes up to a different dream: a monster has come calling. The monster wants to tell him three stories, and in exchange Conor must tell the true story of his nightmare. Conor scoffs, but as his mother worsens, he begins to see how the truest stories are the hardest to tell.

Oh wow, this was beautiful. A heartbreaking near-perfect jewel of a book, which handles tough subjects while holding on to 13-year-old boy humor. It deals honestly with some of the toughest questions: why do bad things happen, and how do we deal with them without losing ourselves? Anybody who thinks of middle grade literature as facile or black-and-white should take a look at this book.

It reminded me of David Almond’s Clay and Pete Hautman‘s books: young boys in pain, with believable boy voices, and a touch of supernatural/unreliable narrator.

A friend asked me for suggestions about books that should be made into movies just as I started reading this, and I couldn’t stop thinking of it as a Where the Wild Things Are-esque film. I think it would be gorgeous.

Also reviewed by: Phoebe North, Becky’s Book Reviews, and Wandering Librarians.

ARC acquired by Arianna of Wandering Librarians at ALA

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4 Responses to Review: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (Sept. 2011)

  1. Sam says:

    Yay! Glad to spread the enthusiasm. And yes, Paula, Knife of Never is usually at the top of my “If you liked Hunger Games” list, sharing space with Ship Breaker. (In fairness, people tend to be pretty split on Knife of Never — it’s a love it or hate it book, for whatever reason. But it’s certainly a decent bet for Hunger Games fans.)

  2. :paula says:

    I never read Knife of Never Letting Go (can I put it on an “If you liked Hunger Games” list? I trust you!) but Sam you’ve sold me on this next one!


  3. Lexi says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m looking forward to this book probably as much as Jeffrey Eugenides’s new novel, which is saying a lot. So glad to hear it lives up to my very high expectations. And thanks, Sam, for introducing me to Patrick Ness in the first place.

  4. Brandy says:

    Want want want. Have no time for, but Want. It’s on my list of things to read next year, though!

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