Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Title: A Monster Calls
Written by: Patrick Ness
Published: March 13, 2013 by Candlewick
(Amazon / Goodreads)

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.

Reading a super beloved book by so many of your friends and fellow book nerds is always a hard thing. What if you thought it was alright but not worth the hype? What if you hate it and they disown you? What if you love it and you wish you had listened and read it sooner, you'll get the inevitable I told you so. Well guys, I'm happy to report that A Monster Calls lives up to the hype, it's amazing.

First of all, this is a really short read. It's not quite a graphic novel but also not really a full blown novel either. It's somewhere in between. Which honestly was perfect. As you may have seen yesterday, I am in a bit of a reading slump. So having something that I can devour because of it's length was perfect. Plus the art is absolutely amazing. It's dark and dramatic which added a lot of context and interest to the story. It broke things up a little bit and for someone like me who doesn't naturally visualize things in a book this was great.

But the real great thing about this book is the emotion behind it. Yeah, I cried. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm a big crier, I cry often. But I will say that there has been some cases where my hipster tendencies make it so that I don't cry because everyone else did. And yes, I knew how it was all going to end but it still hit emotionally. Patrick Ness did a great job of building up to the inevitable in a way that is impactful which not all authors can do. Not to mention the smaller more emotion moments along the way that got me in their own way.

I'm not sure I knew exactly what I was getting into with this book but what I found was definitely fantastic and engrossing. Because the great thing about this book is that it's surprisingly character driven and that's what makes this book so good emotionally and from a story persepctive. It's about darkness and pain. It's about dealing with those moments you don't want to deal with. It's about life and loss. It's about people and connection. It's about everything at the same time and that's what makes it so good.

Patrick Ness has definitely written an amazing and emotional read. It feels a lot like the middle grade coming of age novels that I love. That on top of the gorgeous writing and beautiful pictures made for an interesting and engaging read that I am glad I took the time to read. Yes, I do wish that I had read this sooner but better late than never.

I give A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 9.5 out 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are late to the party on this one like me, waste no more time and get yourself a copy. The movie comes out in just a few weeks which means this is the perfect time to take in this story before that one. I absolutely loved it and I think you will too.


  1. I love this book. It’s one of the best things I’ve read so far this year. I’m glad you liked it, too.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Great review! I had similar thoughts. I'm excited for the movie now.