Author: Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd
Illustrations: Jim Kay
Publication Date: September 27th 2011
Length: 215 pages (Hardcover)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
According to an analysis that Google did in 2010, there are about 130 000 000 different books in the world, and in this endless sea of novels, it’s only natural that some of them are very similar to each other. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, and those books can actually be really entertaining, but as soon as I’m done reading them, they tend to melt together in my head. They basically disappear into a big, confusing ball of forgotten stories and characters.
Some books are not like all the others. Some books are special. Some books stand out.
A Monster Calls is one of those books.
It’s the kind of book that should be read in silence, where all you can hear is your own pounding heart.
It’s the kind of book that should be read in the dark, where it’s not impossible to imagine a monster peeking in, demanding the truth.
It’s the kind of book that should be read without any interruptions, no distractions, and no other people. Just you, the book, and the night.
I have recently realised that these books can be quite hard to find, and sometimes difficult to review. When it comes to the first, I would never have found this particular book if it wasn’t for the fact that Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors, and I wanted to read every published work of his. When it comes to the second…well, I will give it my best try and we’ll see how it goes ;).
I often make notes while reading books, and to help me get started, I thought I’d show you some of the ones I wrote while reading A Monster Calls:
It captivated me. The writing style, the story, the characters…they all hooked me from first sentence to the last, and I could not stop reading. It felt like time stood still, and there was nothing else in the world.
This book was powerful. It amazes me how it managed to be so simple, yet so much more. The language wasn’t complicated, but it was still beautiful. It had this really eerie feeling that I just adore, and even though it’s really short, it still sticks with you. At least it did with me.
A Monster Calls was heart-wrenching. While reading, I felt tears building in my eyes, and for the first half of the book, their presence were constanly on the outskirts of my mind. Then, one scene, it all burst, and my cheeks stayed wet, no matter how much I wiped them clean.
This novel felt realistic. I mean, I can’t say that I understand, or know anything about what Conor went through, but his actions reflected what I imagine it would feel like if it happened to me. Isn’t that one of the reasons why we read books? I, at least, want to experience what I’ve not yet experienced, and see what it’s like to be in unfamiliar situations. A Monster Calls succeded in doing that.
What it also succeded in doing, was making me fall in love with it, but if you’ve come this far, I think you already knew that.
Since I think it’s best not knowing too much about what happens in this book before reading it, I won’t say much more. Just this:
1. For god’s sake, read it with illustrations. They are beautiful and bring so much to the book.
2. If you don’t cry reading A Monster Calls, there’s a chance you will never cry reading anything.
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
“Stories are the wildest things of all. Stories chase and bite and hunt.”
“Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.”