Book Review: A Monster Calls

a_monster_callsTitle: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Pages: 216
Read: Oct 30th (1 day)
Genre: YA fantasy, comptemporary (goodreads)
Goodreads: 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 one 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 is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

 

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My Review: I picked this book for the spookathon challenge, read a book with a scary word in the title/creature. I knew a little bit about the book but I was still blown away. Now looking back the book wasn’t anything mystical or life changing but it struck a cord with me and I don’t think I’ll ever forget reading this book.

This book follows a young boy of 13 named Conor, who’s dealing with a lot in his life at the moment. He is being bullied at school as well as alienating himself as hes struggling with dealing with his mothers illness. One night a yew tree (I believe) that sits outside Conor’s house comes to life and visits him. Conor is not afraid and doesn’t believe in what he is seeing and talks to this “monster” assuming he is just dreaming. But every morning there are signs in his room that a monster really did visit him in the night. This monster is hard to figure out, he is loud and demanding but not necessarily scary. He makes his intentions known at the first interaction but you still don’t know exactly how it will end.

Like I previously stated, this book didn’t do anything ground breaking, but the execution of this book was perfection. It touches such a tough and sensitive topic for middle grade and I like that a lot. It shows that many people will be going through things and you may know about it but you don’t fully understand. It shows the power of friendship. Most of all it shows the amazing thing I call a mother’s love for her child. This book made me cry faster than I could read. The ending and its message was beautifully expressed and so truthful and raw. It is a good read for all ages who have experienced someone they love getting seriously ill and it would be a good read for those who may not have experience themselves but someone they care about has.

I’m very excited for the movie, the trailer looks like they changed things but in a good way. Giving a little more which I’m okay with. I do feel like the trailer gave away a little too much in my opinion, like they tend to do, but I guess its to get people interested because if not it would seem like a weird movie.

Side Note:

I think its important to discuss that this was written by Patrick Ness but it originated from another.  Here is a piece of information I found on Wikipedia (yes I know, I know)

Siobhan Dowd conceived the novel during her own terminal illness. She discussed it and contracted to write it with editor Denise Johnstone-Burt at Walker Books, who also worked with Patrick Ness. After Dowd’s death in August 2007, Walker arranged for Ness to write the story. Later, Walker and Ness arranged for Jim Kay to illustrate it, but Ness and Kay did not meet until after it was published in May 2011.[3][7]

After winning the Carnegie, Ness discussed the writing with The Guardian newspaper:[3]

I wouldn’t have taken it on if I didn’t have complete freedom to go wherever I needed to go with it. If I’d felt hampered at all – again, even for very good reasons – then that harms the story, I think. And I did this not for egomaniacal reasons, that my decisions were somehow automatically right or some such nonsense, but because I know that this is what Siobhan would have done. She would have set it free, let it grow and change, and so I wasn’t trying to guess what she might have written, I was merely following the same process she would have followed, which is a different thing.
I always say it felt like a really private conversation between me and her, and that mostly it was me saying, “Just look what we’re getting away with.”

Kay was selected based on illustrating one scene, solicited by art director Ben Norland:[3]

Due to other commitments I had a weekend to produce an image, and I very hastily created the scene of the Monster leaning against the house. It was a technique I hadn’t tried before, dictated to some degree by the time constraints, which in hindsight may have helped.
I imagine the story as a moving film or piece of theatre, and I start building the props and setting the scenery around the characters. I love atmosphere, and I guess that’s what I wanted to contribute. If I’d been left alone I would have avoided all of the key scenes, I was nervous about dealing with them, but Ben was fantastic in giving the book structure and, thankfully, insisting that I should tackle the explosive, energetic elements of the book.
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