Patrick Ness is the author of the extremely popular Chaos Walking series which I adored. When I saw his book A Monster Calls, I immediately shelved it as a book I would eventually read, but never did get around to it – until recently. I picked it up when I saw this fantastic movie trailer. I have not seen the movie yet, but I plan to take my children just as soon as my son finishes reading the book which I’ve passed on to him. Walker Books | 2011 | Hardcover | 216 pp
Take a look at the trailer.
First, buy the tissues. Then get cozy with the book. You can easily read this in one sitting as it’s fit for middle grade readers and above.
Conor is a young boy who’s feeling isolated and lonely. His mother is dying from cancer, he is relentlessly tortured by bullies at school, his real father is off in America with a new family, his grandmother is irksome, and he’s a social pariah with everyone walking on eggshells around him. No one sees him.
His biggest problem is his internal struggle with emotions while he denies himself the truth, a truth that is played out over and over in his recurring nightmares. He doesn’t want to admit it, and he won’t – until a Monster comes calling. That Monster only wants the truth from Conor – and it demands nothing but the truth.
Sprung from the old yew tree in his backyard, the Monster always comes at exactly 12:07. Over the course of several weeks, it tells Conor three tales about those who had called the Monster before him – three tales involving that old yew tree. Conor must complete his time with the Monster by telling it the fourth story, and his great truth.
A Monster Calls is not a horror story, but a tale of the imperfections and beauty of the human spirit. It is a tale of truth and life and honesty. This tale explains that we don’t always get a happy ending because that is life – and life isn’t always happy. People aren’t perfect, heroes can be bad, bad people can be heroic, and bad things happen to good people. This is a story that will make you weep in the end, and that’s not always a bad thing either.
A great story to foster empathy in young readers.