12:07. There’s a monster at Conor’s window, it’s not the one from his nightmare but it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
A Monster Calls follows the life of Conor O’Malley; a boy torn between home life, school life and his horrific grandmother. His mother’s diagnosis with cancer has left him with an internal battle that he doesn’t EVER want to confront. But as his mother’s health declines, Conor finds himself drifting away from everyone around him and his constant nightmares get worse.
And that is when the monster comes, in the form of a huge yew tree. The monster tells Conor three stories from the past and in return he wants Conor to tell him a fourth story. He wants Conor to tell him the truth, Conor’s truth.
A Monster Calls is a heart-wrenching story that left me and many others in tears. Although it is at times a dark, mournful book, it also has some hilarious and jaw dropping moments.
It was first published in 2011 by the author Patrick Ness (known, as well as many others, for his series ‘Chaos Walking’). The plot itself was passed on to Patrick by the renowned author Siobhan Dowd (author of books such as ‘The London Eye Mystery’) after she sadly passed away from breast cancer. Patrick Ness has taken on the story and created an outstanding novel that shines with compassion and understanding.
What links this book to ‘Giving’?
Well, the monster gives Conor everything he could wish for; hope, love, freedom and mixed in with all of that, the ability to face the truth and move on. The monster gives Conor his freedom back.
A Monster Calls is also a film, which came out in late 2016. It features Academy Award Nominees Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones as well as Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster. Conor is played by a relative newcomer called Lewis Macdougall, who does a fabulous job. The film left me full of hope and sadness leaving with a tear stained face!
I hope that you pick up this book. It is a thoroughly thrilling and powerful read. Although it is suitable for readers in year 5, I recommend this book to anyone, of any age.
“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” -Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls.