Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor's mom is dying of cancer which brings a certain sadness to his days. But one night he wakes up and the tree outside his window has turned into a monster. The monster has a plan for Conor, something he goes along with that ends up quite differently than he expects.

This book is...brilliant? It's short and illustrated which might scare some people away but it's also one of the most true things I've read. It's a book that tells a story on multiple levels and is emotionally affecting and universally true. It doesn't matter that the protagonist is young, either, to say that this story is only meant for people around the same age as the main character is to deny that we are all always human no matter what age and that terrible things that happen affect us in similar ways.

A Monster Calls is about grief, sure, but it's also about the complexity of being human. It's about the power of story and it's about the importance of actions and it's about how our own personal truth is more than what we might feel in a given instance. It's about how life isn't black or white, things aren't always as simple as we wish they would be, and someone is more than the worst thought they might ever have.

Conor's mother doesn't want him to know the truth that she's dying, but that doesn't mean Conor doesn't somehow know it already. And through the visits from the monster and the stories the monster tells, Conor is able to face the monster that lives inside himself.

I don't have much else to say about this book other than it's well worth reading and I loved it. It made me cry and it made me think a lot. It made me want to be more empathetic and to see things with different eyes. And it made me thankful that there are great authors out there, writing great stories, and that no matter what the target demographic is age wise, they are so essentially true I can benefit from reading them at any time in my life.

Rating: 5/5
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: Candlewick Press


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