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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls (edition 2012)

by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (Illustrator)

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1,4731855,061 (4.42)214
Title:A Monster Calls
Authors:Patrick Ness
Other authors:Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Info:Walker (2012), Paperback, 216 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, children's, Carnegie Medal, magical realism

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


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English (181)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Think you know what the monster is? Think again...


“The monster showed up at midnight. As they do. But it wasn't the monster Conor was expecting. He’d been expecting the one from his nightmare. The one he’d had every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming….”

The monster visits Conor, an ancient, wild monster that comes in the form of a yew tree. He says that Conor called him here. Each night he tells Conor a story, and after the third story, Conor will tell him the truth, the truth Conor does not want to face up to…


This book is very beautiful and moving, and I definitely had to stop for some tissues towards the end! The concept was created by Siobhan Dowd, the young adult author who sadly passed away from cancer. Patrick Ness takes up the mantle, in hope to write a book Siobhan would be proud of. It’s very sad, sweet story about a boy dealing with a really difficult thing. Anyone who has ever had to go through something similar will find the story especially moving. I myself have recently gone through the passing of a loved one and that had a big effect on how much the story touched me. The writing is very poetic and lyrical and it really shows the depths of human grief, how much it can affect you and change you as a person.

A Monster Calls is a book that is somewhat difficult to review, it deals with a subject which is very sensitive, in a very frank and realistic way. It deals with grief and loss and the hardships of losing someone you really care about. It is a truly wonderful book. That being said it definitely wasn't what I expected. Hearing the name A Monster Calls and seeing the eerie dark cover, I was somewhat surprised as to the contents of the story, but it absolutely blew me away.

One thing I would suggest is that if you decide to read this book, don’t go for a kindle edition - but a physical copy of the book, the illustrations are gorgeous, they’re so beautiful and fit the tone of the book so well, reading it on an e-reader would completely diminish the experience. It is not the most easy of reads, at times it is heart breaking and painful, but it is without a doubt worth your time to read.

It is hard to say much more about A Monster Calls, other than that it is truly wonderful and if you've ever dealt with grief or loss in any capacity, buy this book now.. ( )
  ColeReadsBooks | Nov 9, 2014 |
This book. There will never be enough words. My heart aches. So much.

This is a book that you will have to read for yourself.
I cannot tell you what it is about. I will do no justice in trying to summarize Conor's story.
Nor the Monster's story.
I do not trust my words. I will fail.

You will feel things. Many emotions. You will need something to wipe your tears away...
And when you are done reading, you may need someone close by to hug. To hold you.

As a mother of three boys, this is one of my biggest nightmares. I don't know if this book would have affected me so severely had I read it before having children...

There are a handful of books that have touched me. That I carry within my heart.
There is only one other book that I cannot speak about; one that I instantly cry over every time I think about it... this book has now joined that one.
But this book... will probably be the only one, that will forever live inside my soul.

Mr. Patrick Ness... thank you. ( )
  thebumblegirl | Oct 25, 2014 |
A Monster Calls is one of those rare young adult novels that accurately and effortlessly portrays adolescent emotional states with the same intensity and understanding that translates well from adult comprehension to adolescent endurance. Paired with powerful and dark imagery, Ness's narrative takes readers through the difficult but necessary journey of the grieving process in guise of a young boy's struggle to understand the inevitable loss of his mother, the turbulent angst and sadness he withholds, and how passive and unpredictable the world can be during the course of the Monster's three tales. These cleverly crafted stories express a worldly understanding that in the reality of our lives, there are no hero or villain, good or bad, only the grey area of circumstance and situation, all for the sake of better understanding that sickness and death are of these natural designs that compose and frame the human experience. ( )
1 vote rwagner2 | Oct 14, 2014 |
Oh, I need a hug.

*Blows nose*

Dark illustrations enhancing highly emotive topics expertly written and presented in a wonderfully tactile and beautiful book.

A Monster Calls is an important and powerful piece of artwork, an absolute must read for every child. It deals with death, divorce, alienation, bullying, guilt, blame, the weight of responsibilty and basically the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Everyone has or will experience these things and Conor's anxious journey through this complicated maze of thoughts and emotions perfectly demonstrates the reality of dealing with the obstacles in life in the most touching manner possible. This sense of depth and painful truths is not something you usually see in children's books which makes this even more special. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

Conor had nightmares. Two different nightmares, actually. One was really scary, that he can't talk about it, while the other one was plain weird. Weird because there's a monster in it, who is not really scary, but also because it's never clear whether the monster was only in his dream or whether it's real.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a book for teenagers, or young adults, in modern terms. It's one of the books my 11 year old stepdaughter's school asked her to read during the holiday. I read it because I was curious about what kind of books teenagers read these days. I was very surprised. I certainly did not read this kind of books when I was her age! Not that it's a too grown up book. The main character is a 13 year old boy, with normal teenage problems - like being bullied and trying to belong. But Conor O'Malley also had a bigger problem in life - his mum, the only person he lived with, had cancer and was struggling with the treatment. This heart-wrenching description of someone fighting cancer is not the only thing that makes the book feels so dark. It's all those nightmares too! I was surprised that teenagers these days read this kind of dark theme. But then again kids these days read Harry Potter, which has a very very dark atmosphere and is full of tragedies.

And that's one of the things that makes this book a powerful read. You develop a strong feeling for Conor and identify with him, you wondered with Conor about the monster and what purpose it served in his life. And you can feel your heartbeat anticipating how the story would end.

I'm not embarrased to say that I was captivated by this young adult book. Afterall, the Harry Potter series is one of my favourite books. I am glad that my stepdaughter gets to know this book. It's a good coming-of-age book, it shows how you should stand up and face your problem. On a more personal note, this book helps me to gain some insight, as it has some parallel to my stepdaughter's life, who lost her mum through cancer.

I applaud Patrick Ness' skill in weaving the real life and the dreams in a haunting story. Apparently he build the story from an idea of Siobhan Dowd, another writer of young adult book, who died of cancer before she managed to write this idea into a book. Would Siobhan approve this book? I don't know, but I know that I can give this book four fat stars for its outstanding story telling. ( )
1 vote koeniel | Sep 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
"... it’s powerful medicine: a story that lodges in your bones and stays there." “A Monster Calls” is a gift from a generous story­teller and a potent piece of art.
added by RBeffa | editNew York Times, Jessica Bruder (Oct 14, 2011)
The power of this beautiful and achingly sad story for readers over the age of 12 derives not only from Mr. Ness's capacity to write heart-stopping prose but also from Jim Kay's stunning black-ink illustrations. There are images in these pages so wild and ragged that they feel dragged by their roots from the deepest realms of myth.
It's also an extraordinarily beautiful book. Kay's menacing, energetic illustrations and the way they interact with the text, together with the lavish production values, make it a joy just to hold in your hand. If I have one quibble, it is with a line in the introduction where Ness says the point of a story is to "make trouble". It seems to me he has done the opposite here. He's produced something deeply comforting and glowing with – to use a Siobhan Dowd word – solace. The point of art and love is to try to shortchange that grim tax collector, death. Ness, Dowd, Kay and Walker have rifled death's pockets and pulled out a treasure. Death, it seems, is no disqualification.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Nessprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dowd, SiobhanAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kay, JimIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abarbanell, BettinaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You're only young once, they say, but doesn't it go on for a long time? More years than you can bear.
Hilary Mantel, An Experiment in Love
For Siobhan (Dowd)
First words
The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
I never got to meet Siobhan Dowd. (Author's Note)
You do not write your life with words, the monster said. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill--an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.

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