A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy
Published: September 15th 2011
by Candlewick Press




The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. 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 one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.



This is such a hard book to review – not because my thoughts are conflicted, but because it relies so heavily on your emotional connection to the plot and characters. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a unique and thought-provoking story about grief and letting go.

β€œThe monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

Through the course of the story, we follow a young boy named Conor. His mother is suffering from cancer, his father is living on the other side of the globe, and he’s being bullied by kids at school. As if all that isn’t enough, each night when he’s sleeping, at exactly 12:07, a monster appears in his dreams. And it wants the truth.

This is the book I’d give to anyone who claims young adult and / or middle grade literature is simplistic and “flat.” Like that of Roald Dahl or Neil Gaiman, at first glance the story may appear to be a bit simple; but the messages underneath prove to be anything but. With A Monster Calls, Ness manages to capture the feelings of grief and loneliness with chilling accuracy, which, in my opinion, was the highlight of the story.

While I personally have never lost anyone extremely close to me, Conor’s pain and sorrow radiates off the pages into a way that anyone can understand and relate to; something that attests to how great Ness’ characterization skills are. You see everything in Conor – from his want to be seen, from his love for his mother – and that truly is what made the story as wonderful as it was.

After you read the final sentence of A Monster Calls, you will close the book an entirely different person. This is one of those rare books that leaves you changed and makes you see the world in an entirely different way.

You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

While I really enjoyed Patrick’s The Knife of Never Letting Go I won’t hesitate in saying that A Monster Calls tops that in so, so many levels. This is a powerful and provocative book, and it’s something that everyone – young and old – should read.

Conor held tightly onto his mother.
And by doing so, he could finally let her go.


1 thought on “A Monster Calls

  1. I’ve heard nothing but praise about this novel – I read the first chapter as a sample and I really like it – I’m glad you could enjoy it all πŸ™‚ it sounds like one of those books that always stays with you. Wonderful review!

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