Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Oh, Patrick Ness. I love so. What have you done to me? This book has completely gutted me. Oh, it's fine--I don't need a whole heart or anything. God, this book. This book has got to be one of my favorite books of all time. I'm not even quite sure where to start with this novel, as I just finished it and spent the last fifteen minutes blubbering like a baby:
This book was inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, a prominent author. The book is introduced by Ness, who explains who she is and how the idea of this novel came to be. And after a slight book slump, I decided to borrow this from my library.
Needless to say, I was absolutely enchanted from the first page. The story itself was spellbinding, delightfully dark and funny, even frightening, but I couldn't bring myself to put it down. It was just so good. The writing was enchanting and beautiful, almost hypnotic, and the dark, black and white illustrations from Jim Kay were honestly just an added bonus.
Conor O'Malley meets a monster in his backyard, a monster seemingly made from the yew tree that sits next to his house. The monster is ancient, wild, and frightening, and demands the one thing from Conor that he cannot give: the truth. To top it all off, Conor's beloved mother, his best and only friend, has cancer.
I don't want to give too much of the plot; this is one of those books when it's best to go in blind. But this book--God. It took everything out of me, and put it all back, if that makes any sense. A Monster Calls is one of those stories that is absolutely essential--if you haven't read it, I highly, highly recommend it, both for fans of Ness's work as well as newcomers. Fans of the infamous Neil Gaiman will also love this book, as it's told in the same dark vein as his work.
If you haven't read anything by Patrick Ness, I highly suggest starting with this book. A heartwrenching, brutal, decidedly human tale all around, A Monster Calls will take your heart and doesn't let go--an amazing triumph of literature, speaking of the profound feelings of grief, guilt, and love! Next on deck: Browsings by Michael Dirda!