Quick Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
April 27, 2012 14 Comments
This book was on the shortlist for the Indie Lit Awards in the Speculative Fiction genre. I read this book because I was in the jury for this genre. I had read one previous book by Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go, which I enjoyed a lot.
This book was a children’s book. It has black and white pictures throughout the book, quite dramatic!
The book is about Conor, 13 years old, who is having nightmares. One nightmare in particular keeps coming back. But then one night, he wakes up to a real nightmare: A monster, looking like the yew tree that he can see from his window, is coming close up and looks very scary.
Conor’s mother is very ill and there are some doubts that she will get better, although everyone is putting on a brave face. At school Conor is being bullied, his grandmother (whom he doesn’t like) takes him in for a while, and at night he’s visited by a monster. Life is very difficult for Conor.
The monster that visits at night tells him stories from which it becomes clear that people aren’t just good or bad, as Conor has always thought, but that a baddie can do good things, and vice versa. This helps Conor in accepting his situation.
It was a very well-written book with a heavy topic. I’m not quite sure what age group this book would be most suitable for. My son (14) read it and seemed to enjoy it but we didn’t really get to discuss it together. I think he was a little ambivalent about the book.
I don’t read a lot of children’s books now that my own sons are teenagers, but I think this was a high-quality book, especially interesting for children who need to deal with a loss, or with guilt. Recommended.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I got this book: from my on-line book store
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 216
First published: 2011
Genre: fantasy, children’s fiction