Monday 9 May 2011

Review for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd

"The monster showed up just 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... The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth." Having just turned the final pages of this book I am feeling emotionally exhausted as if I have took one long, brutal journey and in some respects I have. Firstly let me talk about what you will see first upon picking up this book. A Monster Calls is beautifully presented, Walker have done a fine job putting together this wonderful book making it so that it looks really special, definitely something you want to keep and treasure. I’m guessing that secondly after reading the blurb you would skim through the pages noting the haunting and poetic illustrations by Jim Kay. Starting at the beginning you will notice the author’s incredibly beautiful and respectful note on how this book came to be in your hands right now. A Monster Calls was never originally Patrick Ness’s idea: Instead the idea for this book was sparked by the much acclaimed author for young adults Siobhan Dowd. Fans of Siobhan will know that due to her untimely death she was unable to complete this story, in stepping Patrick Ness writing A Monster Calls with one thing in mind: To write a story that Siobhan would enjoy. If the fact that this book is written by two award winning authors, has the most stunning illustrations, and sounds so lyrical and special from the blurb alone doesn’t make you want to read this book then I don’t know what will. You must be a very tough person to please so allow me with this review to elaborate on what makes this book so spectacular. There really are no words that can fully express how much I hope you read this book. How much I hope that parents and children will share it and bookclubs will read and discuss it because this is a book that needs to be read, that demands and screams to be noticed and talked about. This is a book that’s truthful, and harrowing and so incredibly frightening. Yes frightening, because I think I can safely say that as human beings this book discusses the biggest and scariest truth of our world. That one day each and every one of us is going to lose someone we love. It’s something we’ve all experienced to some extent so far in our life whether that’s from the death of a beloved pet or the greater extent of losing a parent. This book deals with the most frightening thing of all and however much we want to silence it and believe that we our invincible like it or not this is our story. Patrick Ness honestly portrays the thoughts and feeling of a young boy whose mother is being treated for cancer. Although Connor’s mother has cancer this isn’t technically a story about that horrendous disease. This isn’t a book about cancer, or illness or death. Ultimately it’s a book about grief. It’s a book about a young boy having to face the unfair reality that he is shortly going to have to say goodbye to the person he loves most in the world. Before reading A Monster Calls I had never read anything written by Patrick Ness or Siobhan Dowd despite hearing phenomenal praise for them. Patrick’s honest and creative way of storytelling along with Siobhan’s brilliant imagination makes me definitely interested in checking out their separate work. This book is like nothing else out there at the moment and in its short 215 pages packs one of the biggest punches a book has dealt me in a long time. A Monster Calls isn’t the kind of book that you gobble up in one action packed frenzy but is the kind of novel you take your time over absorbing the beautiful and haunting language and images. It’s the kind of book that is packed with lessons and life changing quotes that will make you stop and think for a moment before continuing reading. It’s a book that despite being short will stay with you for weeks, the lessons it brings to the table eternal. Needless to say I cried whilst reading this book. I defy anyone not to. I got angry and I lived along with Connor. To say that I recommend this book or even give it 5 stars is an understatement. It somehow seems unfair to it because this book deserves so much more than that. It deserves to be picked up and read and loved and cherished and talked about amongst friends and family. It deserves more praise than I alone can give it. If you have this book sitting on your shelf don’t put it off, read it next. If you have it on your wishlist buy it now above all other books. I sincerely promise that the tears, the tissues and your time will be worth it. My Rating 5/5 stars ***** Synopsis taken from goodreads Thanks go to Walker for sending me this book to review


  1. What a beautiful review! You have written it so eloquently. You must read The Knife of Never Letting Go now!!!

  2. Wow! Amazing review Jess. I'll certainly try to read this soon although I already know it's going to make me cry buackets!

  3. Hmmm, never heard of this book, but your review makes me want to pick it up!

  4. Oh you need to read the Chaos Walking trilogy!

    Sorry, had to get that off my chest :) It really is a wonderful series of books, and the characters and all they go through...
    I think Ness has turned into one of my favourite authors of all time.

    And I think you are totally right about it being a frightening book, because we all know that we *will* lose people and loved ones in life. And that is scary.


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