Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it.  It is an unflinchingly dark, funny and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, 13 year old Conor wakes up to find a monster outside his bedroom window.  But it isn't the monster he's been expecting--the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.  The monster in his backyard is different.  It's ancient, and wild.  And it wants something from Conor--something terrible and dangerous.  It wants the truth.

This book stems from the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd (whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself).  It is a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Profoundly moving and expertly crafted, the tale is enhanced by atmospheric and ominous illustrations that surround the text--softly caressing it in quiet moments, and in others rushing toward the viewer with a nightmarish intensity.  It draws on elements of classic horror stories to delve into the terrifying terrain of loss.  It tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth of life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight. 

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