Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

So you like book reviews? Here’s another one for you. This book would make an excellent Christmas present for someone you know, be they a young person, or simply young at heart. Happy Reading!

A monster callsI bought this book for my ten-year old son, then read it myself. I was first attracted to it by the powerful illustrations (Jim Kay)which are truly captivating whilst never revealing too much; I like to retain the ability to use my own imagination to picture a scene from a book, and Jim Kay still allowed me to do this.

I was then lured by the layout and style of the book; fold out matt covers, text punctuated by double page illustrations, all in moody black and white, and many border image; short chapters often broken into smaller chunks; and thought processes written in italics. Easy for a child to read. And me. I read it in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down.

Monster calls2The story, however, is anything but easy. It centres on Conor, at a most traumatic time in his young life. His mother is terminally ill, he has a difficult relationship with his estranged father, his grandmother doesn’t want him, and he is being bullied at school.

Conor’s best friend is the monster. But the monster makes him do bad things. And the monster wants something from him, something Conor is not prepared to give…

monster calls 3It is clear from the beginning that this story is not going to have a happy ending, although that doesn’t stop one hoping. The conclusion is written so beautifully, and so simply, that it’s impossible not to shed a tear.

This book highlights many issues for children without lecturing or moralising; the horror of bullying, the pain of loss, the power of communication, and the importance of friendship and helping one another.

It’s not just a good read; it’s an atmospheric and compelling literary experience. Don’t buy it on Kindle, it’s far too good for that. You need to hold it in your hands, see it and feel it. Enjoy!

Find it HERE at Amazon.

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