Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Author: Patrick Ness
Audiobook Narrator: Jason Isaacs
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Audiobook Length: 3 hours 59 minutes
Page Length: 206 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

This took me by surprise. I had heard about this book, but not once did I actually know what it was about. From the illustrations alone, I had mistakenly thought this was going to be a scary monster book. BUT OH NO. That would be wrong. This book is immensely heartfelt and devastating on so many levels. I was weeping through this story. It ends on a very profound message on love and loss. I feel like this a book that kids should read, because doesn’t it just have a message for all ages?

The story is about Conor, who sees a monster appear outside his bedroom one night who seems dangerous and awful. It asks things from Conor that Conor doesn’t think he has the answers to. Conor’s mother is receiving treatments once again for her cancer, and his father has moved away to America to be with his new wife and family. Conor has his grandmother, but it’s not really the same as having his mother by his side.

This is a book of loss and love. Jason Isaacs’ narration is spectacular and I particularly loved that the audiobook had a bit of an additional interview, or talk, at the end between Jason Isaacs’ and Patrick Ness. The story was inspired from author Siobhan Dowd, and she had passed away before she got a chance to write the book. I think that Ness did wonderfully with Dowd’s material and would recommend this book, because this is an important book and not one I will ever forget.

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