ISBN-13: 9781406311525
Publisher: Walker & Company
Published: May 2011
Format: Hardcover, 214pp
Source: Personal Library

I picked up Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls for Carl's R.I.P. VI Reading Challenge, thinking that the title and its cover are appropriate of the challenge's theme; and while they seemed to fit the theme, let me tell you that the story was mind-blowing and a tear-jerker as well.

Connor O'Malley, a thirteen-year-old boy, has always been the target of bullies in school. Back at home, things aren't as easy as he has to deal with the harsh fact that his mother has cancer but the worst of all is the recurring nightmare which has been tormenting him almost every night.

One night, he awoke hearing someone calling out his name and it turns out to be a human-like yew tree who walks and talks. This yew tree has been growing at the back of his house but Connor didn't take notice of it until now. The monster told him that he is ancient and has walked about the earth for some time. He also told Connor that he has three tales to share but he would want Connor to tell him the fourth tale after he has finished and that he wants the truth from his story.

At a glance, A Monster Calls may seem like an ordinary horror story but don't let that mislead you or stop you from reading it as I felt there is nothing horrible or scary about this story but more of an emotional journey of a boy who overcomes his guilt and loneliness, and learning about letting go.

When I first started this book, I was intrigued by the tone and Patrick Ness' amazing storytelling skill. However, the more I flipped through those pages that feeling of waiting for the story to unfold has slowly turned to a heartbreaking feeling for it reminds me the time when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and how we have to learn to cope and to accept the sad truth (she passed away in 2006).

That said, this story isn't about depression and feeling sorry for Connor. On the contrary, it is a spirit lifting story that is bound to make you think hard about life and all. What I liked about this story is it isn't told in a preaching tone and that there are also some great illustrations done by Jim Kay and they absolutely add life to this emotional-filled story.

I have a lot more good things to say about this book but as they always say, it is always best to experience that wonderful reading journey yourself so what can I say. . . Go read this book, now!

8 Responses
  1. Ana S. Says:

    This is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year so far. So glad you loved it too!

  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I am reading this book right now. The illustrations are gripping and haunting and gorgeous. I will never forget Ana's review of this one - I was thrilled when I was able to get my hands on it at SIBA.

  3. Staci Says:

    That cover is so misleading. It wasn't until your awesome review that I even considered reading this one. I love this author's past work.

  4. The Bookworm Says:

    Wow Melody, this one sounds good. The premise sounds unique!
    Glad you enjoyed it that much and that it struck a chord in your personal life. Great review.

  5. Kailana Says:

    I really enjoyed this book. I am glad to hear you did, too!

  6. Violet Says:

    I haven't read this book or anything else by Patrick Ness. It does sound wonderful though.

  7. stacybuckeye Says:

    This looks great. And it comes with illustrations? Very cool.

  8. Julia Says:

    It has been interesting to go through this book with you. Love that the boy had someone to watch over him....

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