Summary and book reviews of The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean

by David Almond

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond X
The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From master storyteller David Almond comes a gripping, exquisitely written novel about a hidden-away child who emerges into a broken world.

Billy Dean is a secret child. He has a beautiful young mother and a father who arrives at night carrying the scents of candles and incense and cigarettes. Birds fly to his window. Mice run out from his walls. His world is a carpet, a bed, pictures of the holy island, and a single locked door. His father fills his mind and his dreams with mysterious tales and memories and dreadful warnings. But then his father disappears, and Billy's mother brings him out into the world at last. He learns the horrifying story of what was saved and what was destroyed on the day he was born, the day the bombers came to Blinkbonny.

The kind butcher, Mr. McCaufrey, and the medium, Missus Malone, are waiting for him. He becomes The Angel Child, one who can heal the living, contact the dead, bring comfort to a troubled world. But there is one figure who is beyond healing, who comes looking for Billy himself - and is determined on a kind of reckoning.

This tail is told by 1 that died at birth by 1 that came into the world in days of endles war & at the moment of disaster.

He grew in isolayshon wile the enjins of destrucshon ?ew & smoke rose over the sitys & wile wilderness & waste crept all acros the world.

He grew up with the birds & mise as frends.

He wos a secrit shy & thick & tungtied emptyheded thing.

He wos tort to read & rite & spel by his tenda littl muther & by Mr McCaufrey the butcha & by Missus Malone and her gosts.

So he is not cleva so plees forgiv his folts & his mistayks.

Mebbe you alredy no him. Mebbe you came to Blinkbonny & to Missus Malones door & into the parlor wer he told you of all the spirits that wer still arownd you and that stil lovd you even tho you thort they wer gon.

Mebbe he roamd the afterlyf for you & sang for you & dansd for you & became the thing you thort youd lost the thing you lovd so much.

Mebbe ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

With themes of sexuality, religion, war, and the exploitation of innocence, the novel is brilliant and troubling, moralistic, ambitious, and very accessible once you allow yourself into the world and language...continued

Full Review (1055 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Sharry Wright).

Media Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Billy's ability to find surreal beauty in strange things, such as the dead mice he lovingly dissects in his room, hearkens back to Almond’s treatment of Skellig and Heaven Eyes, and the message is also similar: wonder and loveliness can be recovered from the ashes of the festering evil.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Challenging, sometimes bloody, but completely rewarding, this is an intense story of betrayal, reconciliation, and triumph. Ages 14–up.

Booklist
Starred Review. Billy [is] an absolutely unforgettable creation. One of the most critically acclaimed YA authors working today, Almond refuses to rest on his laurels, and here he delivers his finest book in years.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Dark, unsettling and fluid as water, Almond's suspenseful tour de force considers the cycle of life, themes of war, God and godlessness, and, as ever, "How all things flow into each other. Ages 14+.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Crossing Into the Borderlands: The New YA Readers

The True Tale Of The Monster Billy Dean, first published in the UK in 2011 by Penguin's adult imprint, Viking, was reviewed as David Almond's debut for adults, but it was simultaneously released as a young adult novel by Puffin, another Penguin imprint. It is one of a growing number of books that straddles the borderlands of adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction while the adult audience for YA and MG literature continues to grow.

Traditionally, the middle-grade genre has been aimed at eight to twelve year-olds and as Laura Backes at The Children's Book Insider explains, characterized by conflicts focused inward with themes ranging from friendship to school situations to relationships with siblings and peers. The middle-grade ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by David Almond

If you liked The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, try these:

  • Edgar and Lucy jacket

    Edgar and Lucy

    by Victor Lodato

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More by this author

    A new literary novel from Weissberg Award winning playwright and PEN USA Award for Fiction winning writer Victor Lodato, Edgar and Lucy is a masterfully written story of a broken family struggling to stay together.

  • The Emperor of Any Place jacket

    The Emperor of Any Place

    by Tim Wynne-Jones

    Published 2017

    About this book

    More by this author

    The ghosts of war reverberate across the generations in a riveting, time-shifting story within a story from acclaimed thriller writer Tim Wynne-Jones.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Second Place
    Second Place
    by Rachel Cusk
    Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy drew much of its substance from monologues and dialogues that swirled ...
  • Book Jacket: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is the comedic debut novel of writer Julietta Henderson. It ...
  • Book Jacket: In Search of a Kingdom
    In Search of a Kingdom
    by Laurence Bergreen
    The Age of Exploration in the early modern period, lasting roughly from the 15th through 16th ...
  • Book Jacket: Under a White Sky
    Under a White Sky
    by Elizabeth Kolbert
    You can never go back home...so the saying goes. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Girl in His Shadow
by Audrey Blake
The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Ariadne
    by Jennifer Saint

    A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

Who Said...

Chance favors only the prepared mind

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.