Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, adapted from an idea by Siobhan Dowd + Contest!

Published May 5, 2011.

The monster showed up just 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... The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. (

After the untimely death of Siobhan Dowd, Patrick Ness was contacted to complete the story that she started about a boy coming to terms with his mother's battle with cancer and confronting the monster that calls on him night after night. The monster is the yew tree, the form it takes most comfortably, and the form in which is most readily heals.

There's nothing bad I can say about this book. Not a one. I knew from a few pages in that the end would have me in tears. And it did. As I sit now typing this, remembering how it ended, I'm tearing. It's quite possibly one of the most powerful books I've ever read.

Conor is the main character, and it's on his shoulder that we sit from beginning to end. He's young enough to hide behind his denial but old enough to conquer it. He lashes out as any kid in that situation would, at anyone that's within reach. He wants nothing more than to be left alone yet treated just like everyone else. He's tired of the free passes he gets because of his "situation" and that riles him up even more.

When the monster comes, it forces him to face some terrifying truths in its own roundabout way that Conor doesn't always understand. But he gets there. His nightmare, his truth, is hinted at throughout the book and it gets to a point where you're as equally afraid to face it at he is. But you must. That's the only way you'll get through the book. The monster makes him see his truth.

Every spit of anger, every pang of guilt, every lash out and punch and piece of screaming denial you'll feel right to the very bottom of yourself. It'll bubble up from the inside and at the end it'll all be released and you'll be satisfied.

Nothing is sugar-coated in this book. Not a damn thing. Conor could be a boy down the street or the girl next door having to deal with the same thing. There are no saving graces and early on you can see that. But there are reprieves and that's what really matters.

A Monster Calls will resonate with you long after you finish reading it. You'll want to pick it up and read it again. It'll make you look at your loved ones in a different light and bring your own difficulties into perspective. Maybe the monster will come to you. It does only come when it's called; really, only when it's really needed. It saves people, the people that need saving, and those aren't always the obvious ones.

I can't think of anyone that won't like this book. Honestly, I think it should be read in classrooms. So pick it up. Read it. Cherish it. A Monster Calls won't be sinking into book oblivion any time soon.

Contest Time!!!

Want my finished copy? The drawings are both gorgeous and terrifying all at once. You know you want to see it. So just fill out the form below for your chance to win. Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only. One entry per person per email address. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Contest ends June 9th at midnight, EST.

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