An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. 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 monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. (Ages 12+)
A Monster Calls
The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
Conor was awake when it came.
He'd had a nightmare. Well, not a nightmare. The nightmare.
The one he'd been having a lot lately. The one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter how hard he tried to hold on.
The one that always ended with -
"Go away," Conor whispered into the darkness of his bedroom, trying to push the nightmare back, not let it follow him into the world of waking. "Go away now."
He glanced over at the clock his mum had put on his bedside table. 12:07. Seven minutes past midnight. Which was late for a school night, late for a Sunday, certainly.
He'd told no one about the nightmare. Not his mum, obviously, but no one else either, not his dad in their fortnightly (or so) phone call, definitely not his grandma, and no one at school. Absolutely not.
What happened in the nightmare was something no one ...
Patrick Ness's expansion and completion of Siobhan Dowd's story concept, in conjunction with Jim Kay's gorgeous illustrations, unite to form one of the best novels I have read this year. The book is further proof that the young adult market is enticing some of today's most talented writers. Yes, A Monster Calls is a narrative filled with magic, but the meaning behind that magic extends way beyond a traditional fantasy narrative.
(Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).
Full Review (535 words).
The seed for A Monster Calls came from Siobhan Dowd (pronounced sh-vawn), a gifted writer who earned critical and popular success for her young adult fiction and received much praise for her work speaking out against censorship. She brought authors into underprivileged schools, made literature accessible to children around the globe, and led numerous community projects.
Her first novel, A Swift Pure Cry (2006), was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and the BookTrust Teenage Prize, and her subsequent novels - The London Eye Mystery (2007), Bog Child (2008), and Solace of the Road (2009) - have earned her dozens of awards.
Dowd spent much of her career working for both the English and American branches of PEN ("poets/...
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