Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Review: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls reads like a fairy tale about a young boy who has visits from a monster in the middle of the night.

Conor's mother is very sick with cancer, and he's been able to "keep it together" on the surface. The only problem he is having is with some school bullies, and the recurring nightmare that Conor is unwilling to talk about.

One night, Conor is visited by the Yew tree that grows in the churchyard next door. The tree appears as a giant monster, but compared to other things Conor is going through, the tree isn't very scary.

The story is poignant, and simple. It is beautifully told, and accompanied by dark, mysterious illustrations. It explores the themes of grief, survivor guilt, adolescent rebellion, family relationships, bullying, and fear itself, as Conor is forced to confront his true feelings and accept the inevitable.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. It was OK. I'm trying to see how reading this might help some younger teens who were going through similar situations, and maybe it would. I can't see recommending this one for its entertainment value. It's a book with a purpose, and I think it fulfills that, but otherwise, I don't see much appeal to the general middle schooler.

Published by Candlewick, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
205 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3/5




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1 comment:

  1. That is precisely how I felt about this book. I didn't see its appeal except to a very specific kind of reader. Still, it is very well written.

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