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Kid Konnection: A Monster Calls

March 24, 2012

Things aren’t going to well for Conor.  He’s being bullied at school, his mother has cancer, his father has moved to America with his new family, and he and his grandmother don’t always get along.  To make matters even worse, he has a nightmare every night.  The monster in the nightmare starts off by telling Conor three stories and, after it’s done, it expects something from Conor – the truth.

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, is a moving, powerful book that left me sobbing.  It’s a masterpiece that is gut wrenching and heart breaking.  This important book is sure to become a classic that will be taught in schools.  The story is emotional and raw and the writing is top notch.  Anyone who has ever been touched by cancer needs to read this book.

Conor is a wonderful character trying to deal with all life has thrown his way.  It seems that he has too much for one person to handle, but troubles do seem to come in bunches.  I think many young people, as well as many adults, will be able to relate to Conor as he tries to keep things together and stay strong and positive for his mother.  He’s forced to grow up quickly and learn some of life’s lessons early.  This is one of many passages that struck me as I read the book:

You do not write your life with words, the monster said.  You write it with actions.  What you think is not important.  It is only important what you do.

The book is wonderfully illustrated with dark, brooding pictures by Jim Kay that suit it perfectly.  Readers will want to study the illustrations as they read the book, because they express the passion of the story.

It’s hard for me to express just how much I loved A Monster Calls.  It’s targeted to the Young Adult audience, but adults will certainly want to read it as well.  Be sure to have a box of tissues handy when you pick it up.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
27 Comments leave one →
  1. Amritorupa Kanjilal permalink
    March 24, 2012 5:16 am

    Hello, your love for the book was evident in every line! It made me want to grab hold of it immediately!
    great review

  2. March 24, 2012 5:43 am

    Cos it’s Ness I would really like to check it out. I do like this style

  3. Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post permalink
    March 24, 2012 7:09 am

    I’m hooked Kathy! I will have to find this book for the artwork as much as the story. Although i really do hate to cry:(

  4. March 24, 2012 7:31 am

    Ugh! I don’t like crying, but this one is on my TBR list.

  5. March 24, 2012 7:58 am

    I’ve read another review where the reader also raved about this book and how she sobbed after reading it. I’m so tempted to read it but it has to be at the right time for me, when I can handle all the raw emotions in this book.

  6. March 24, 2012 8:05 am

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I did read the Chaos Walking series earlier this year. I will have to check this one out.

  7. March 24, 2012 8:08 am

    Everyone is raving about this one. and I LOVED Ness’ Chaos Walking series, so I am pretty sure I will be enamoured by this one too. Great review today Kathy.

  8. March 24, 2012 9:44 am

    I agree that it is definitely also an adult book!

  9. March 24, 2012 10:01 am

    Loved this book…I’m so glad you did too. My son told me it looked too scary, he’s only 9 (and still won’t pick up RL Stine), but I’m interested to see if children are as moved as adults. We have so many more experiences to which we can relate. Do kids read it the same way?

  10. talesofwhimsy permalink
    March 24, 2012 10:08 am

    O sounds amazing. This is one of those books I would have passed on if it wasn’t for the awesome reviews my fellow bloggers have given it.

  11. Beth Hoffman permalink
    March 24, 2012 10:26 am

    Oh my gosh! Between your review and the illustrations, I’m totally hooked!

  12. bookingmama permalink
    March 24, 2012 12:55 pm

    This looks so powerful and those illustrations are amazing! Can’t wait to read it.

  13. March 24, 2012 3:16 pm


  14. March 24, 2012 6:44 pm

    Sounds like a must read, your review is compelling!

  15. March 24, 2012 7:47 pm

    I must read this.

  16. capriciousreader permalink
    March 24, 2012 8:12 pm

    Yes! I am so glad to see you loved it every bit as much as I did. You’re right; it almost impossible to put it into words, just how amazing this book is.

  17. March 24, 2012 8:30 pm

    This sounds like such a great book on a very important topic. I am definitely going to get a copy!

  18. March 24, 2012 9:20 pm

    I picked up this book because it was written by Patrick Ness and was moved emotionally, and agree this is an important book!

  19. March 24, 2012 9:37 pm

    I’ve heard this is difficult but wonderful. “Coming of age” before one thinks he’s ready can often show just how strong/resilient people are.

  20. stacijoreads permalink
    March 25, 2012 8:45 pm

    Your love for this one has me making a note to myself to make sure I get it off the library shelf and bring it home to read over Spring Break…beautiful review!

  21. March 25, 2012 11:19 pm

    Now that I have finally finished reading the Monsters of Men trilogy I am looking forward to picking up this book! I know they aren’t related, but I had made a self imposed rule that I had to finish one before I read the other!

  22. March 26, 2012 12:25 pm

    I found this at my library and read it last week. It was quite original and very dramatic. I really enjoyed the bold illustrations and the touching story. Great review!

  23. March 26, 2012 1:58 pm

    I really want to read this one. Everyone has said such good things about it and the drawings are wonderful.

  24. March 27, 2012 1:22 pm

    This was one of my favourite reads of last year – so glad you loved it too!

  25. March 27, 2012 11:22 pm

    How did I miss that this was a kids book? I have it on my wish list already but apparently completely forgot what it was (this happens a lot!).

  26. March 30, 2012 6:58 am

    I’ve heard several people rave over this one. I want to read it. Your review is another reason to get to it.

  27. April 3, 2012 8:56 am

    Your thoughts left me with chills, Kathy. I’ve been so torn on whether to read this one or not, but I think I’ve finally decided I should. Will keep the tissue close!

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