Something to make you shiver and cringe… but also give you a big warm hug.
Genre: Y/A, Horror, Magical Realism
No. of pages: 216
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.
‘A Monster Calls’ is haunting and beautiful. I think it sheds a light on a lot of unexpected feelings around guilt, loss and grief and lets you know that it’s okay. It delivers that eerie folk tale in a modern setting, familiar to the works of The Brothers Grimm, Roald Dahl and Emily Carroll.
Our protagonist, Connor’s behaviour and reactions tell a story of their own, and then upon finishing the novel, take on a different meaning with hindsight.
I got a little angry for Connor, at the helplessness of his situation and at the apparent apathy of many of the adults around him. Not that they weren’t sympathetic, but that they didn’t show him how important he was.
In that manner, this book struck a personal chord with me. I too have suffered through a similar experience with my mother, and I have had my own battle with cancer. A lot of memories were dredged up, both pleasant and gut-wrenching.
The Yew Tree Monster had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck a few times and was truly terrifying. Not an easy feat, so I commend Patrick Ness on creating an atmosphere that really creeped me out.
I liked the splattered and scratchy ink illustrations, all in black and white adding to the tone of the narrative.
For such a dark book it carries a lot of hope. Really impressed. Highly recommended.
Best Patrick Ness book I’ve read to date – can’t wait to see if it translates the big screen with the movie due for imminent release.
Overall reaction: Holy crow!
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