By: Patrick Ness
Reported by: Julianna Helms
This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. 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 nightmare 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, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.
-Summary from Goodreads
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Here's a confession: I have nightmares.
Not nightmares like "ghosts are following me down the stairs" nightmares. Not nightmares like "my crush humiliates me in front of everyone and then becomes the Biggest Jerk EVER."
Nightmares like, murder. Like, tearing flesh murder. Sights that make you want to gag and just shrivel up and hide forever. When people say there are no worse things than seeing your own death, they're wrong. Here's something worse: Seeing someone you love dying, torn apart, and you are just sitting there, helpless.
And here's why I'm bringing that particularly pleasant imagery to mind: This book is like my worst nightmare and best daydream combined. I have lost people, sure, but certainly not as horribly as many others have. I have tried to neglect the truth, too. But I'm not strong enough to fight against it completely and wholly. This book was like a weapon handed to me by Achilles, just for the power to finally spring back and eradicate every last doubt--every last sliver of crippling thought. But no one ever does anything for no reason at all.
This book's a weapon, alright. And it claims no loyalties.
I feel kind of dramatic. Upon finishing this book, I just lied there on my bed, staring at the ceiling. The book fell with a heavy thud onto my lap, and I just let it sit there. It was almost amusing, how much this book affected me. But actually, not really. It's like keeping something for so long, buried so deep inside of you that it takes millenniums to finally dig everything out again, and suddenly someone just charged into your brain and shook you upside-down until they finally dislodged that piece of memory. As they shake you, trying to free you, your thoughts start dissipating, turning vapid. You start thinking, hmm, and then it's just like yourself staring at yourself, but you know that you aren't quite who you were anymore. It's weird. It's strange.
It's spectacularly wrecking.
Here's a note about the illustrations: Whatever you do, get the print copy of this book. I have included links below the synopsis, so you can't use the excuse that you don't know where to find one. The illustrations are just hauntingly lovely. Its synergy with the breathtaking writing is like killing two birds with one stone. You know, I think it's just so interesting how I can be sniggering at myself the same time I'm trying to remain honest. If you're sniggering at my "melodrama," that's okay, I get it. But if you know me, you know I don't write reviews. I write my emotional response to a book, no matter how deeply cutting it is. So here it is:
I hope you read this while keeping in mind that even the greatest warriors fall.