A Monster Calls
Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 2011
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is moving, disturbing, and absolutely beautiful. It is the story of a boy trying to come to terms with his mother's cancer, while at the same time battling nightmares and realizing that the truth is not so straightforward as he thought it was.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The monster was fascinating. We never really know if it is real, or just a figment of Conor's imagination. The stories the monster told are, as Conor says, "cheating", because they have a twist at the end. The monster teaches Conor that good and evil are not always separate, and that we have to confront the things inside of us which we fear and hate the most.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: Yes:
Reason why you were disappointed: I wish it hadn't been so short, and I thought the ending was too abrupt. Besides that, it was perfect.
Cover: The cover, and in fact all the illustrations, are beautiful and haunting. They are completely black, grey, and white, and add to the tone of the book. The drawings are abstract enough to let you form your own images of scenes and characters, and they seem to reflect the monsters and nightmares that are constantly plaguing Conor.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal