Reviews

A monster calls, by Patrick Ness 💀

Today’s book is, without a doubt, one of my faves, thanks to its superb story and wise life lessons that are sprinkled through it. 🙂

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Genre:

Children/ Contemporary/ Drama/ Fantasy

Pages:

206 (paperback)

Praise:

  • Carnegie Medal Winner, Greenaway Medal Winner
  • British Children’s Book of the Year Winner
  • “Profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale… a singular masterpiece.” – Publishers Weekly
  • “A gift from a generous story­teller and a potent piece of art.”—The New York Times
  • “A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.” —School Library Journal

Synopsis:

The monster showed up 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…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

My rating: 5/5

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Review:

“A monster calls”– one of the most emotional coming-of-age stories you’ll ever read. A story about stories, about their power on people and about the importance of words to them.

The book brings to the fore Conor, a teenager whose parents are divorced and whose mother is seriously ill, without chances of survival. In his subconscious, Conor knows what is going to happen to her, but he doesn’t want to accept the inevitable. Therefore, under stress and pressure, his mind gives birth to a monster. The boy is not afraid of it. He knows its mission: to help him cope with the situation.

One of the many beautiful aspects of the book is represented by the fairy tales the monster is armed with and that are to be shared with Conor in order to encourage him take the best decision regarding the direction his relationship with his mother is going to take. The fairy tales are of fantastic nature, each one of them contradicting the stereotypes and the rule according to which things are either totally bad or totally good.

The personal development Conor goes through also made a great impression on me. He’s put in a position in which no one would wish to be: fighting against himself, breaking the self-imposed barriers which hold a happy ending that looks nothing like he would have expected, but that does bring him freedom from his destructive thinking, along with discovering the benefits of expressing his feeling and acting upon them.

Lastly, the characters feel alive, they’re complex, far from being plain. Like the protagonists of the fairy tales, they have flaws and do not always know what to do according to the situation they’re in. They learn along the way what’s best for them and for Conor, as they gravitate around him hoping to reach common ground.

All in all, rich in lessons about self-expressing or about the need of having people around when one’s road is tough, “A monster calls” is a fast read that’s able to broaden its readers’ horizons. It truly captivated me. The fascinating subject and the stunning illustrations offered me a unique experience and broke my heart the way only a masterpiece can.

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P.S. The film adaptation comes out in October, so keep an eye out for it! The trailer promises a beauty of a movie!

Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.

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