Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.
Published: September 27, 2011 by Walker Press.
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.
This book left me an absolute mess. I was crying, sprawled out on the floor clutching the book, while my dog looked on upset as to why his owner was petting a book. This story is heartbreaking, I knew what was coming but by the time it happened I was already emotionally drained. The story is intense, the narrative weaving beautifully with a second narrative (Conor and the monster’s). Ness writes emotions well, taking the reader along with the feelings of absolute desperation, and want for something more. I’ve been in a situation close to Conor’s and I can identify so much with the feeling of being invisible, and then the panic when you’re not invisible. The want for punishment, someone to notice you’re not doing what you’re supposed to—the maddening, crushing feeling of everyone giving you a pass because you’ve got some serious stuff going on.
A Monster Calls is a haunting story, the imagery that goes alongside it just adds to the story. It’s a fairy tale for the modern age and shows both the fantastical elements of the genre and the not-so-discussed consequences and dark side of the magical world. Fantasy and reality blend, and there are real life situations that parallel stories that were handed down for ages. This book is heavy, and painful, but there’s a glimmer of hope at the end, something shiny and bright for Conor to hold on to, and capture when the darkness fully passes.