A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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A #1 New York Times bestesller

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- 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. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
Publisher: London :, Walker Books,, 2011
ISBN: 9780763680817
9781406311525
Branch Call Number: NES
Characteristics: 224 p.
Additional Contributors: Dowd, Siobhan
Kay, Jim (Illustrator)

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t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 09, 2017

12:07 is when a monster comes to tell a little boy named Conor three tales about life. Stories that are going to help Conor understand what is happening in this life. And then Conor will tell the monster a fourth tale about a nightmare he has been having since his mother got sick. Only once the truth has come out can Conor heal and come to terms with life. I picked this book up after seeing the movie (which was just as good as the novel). I loved how this story is written and all the amazing art that helps you see the story better. This was a quick read, but it was full of little hidden messages. Rating 5 out of 5 stars.
- @Fallenangelhushhush of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

SCL_Justin Jul 23, 2017

I made the mistake of reading the last third of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls out in a park on a sunny day. This was a mistake because the book is so sad I was sitting there sniffling and holding back tears in the midst of happy people in the sun looking at boats and such. If you read it on a rainy day you will feel much more in tune with the world.

A Monster Calls is about a monster who comes and visits Conor, who’s been having terrible nightmares. The monster tells him the monster will tell Conor three stories and then Conor will have to tell the monster one, and in this way the monster will help the boy.

Put like that it kind of sounds like a cool little fable kind of thing. But it’s actually a story about how death and love and cancer and everything in the universe is just not fair at all. It isn’t a fantasy story; it’s a coping with reality story.

It is so good.

coloradobuck Jul 14, 2017

Wow. The monster lives in all of us. And It wants us to tell our story. Even if our story is one we don't want to own or to tell. What a fantastic look at dealing with losing someone too early. The monster is an expression or rather a manifestation of his rage at the unfairness of his situation. What a Great read. Heart-wrenching. But fantastic.

AL_TIEGAN May 31, 2017

Once I finished this book, I needed a serious moment to just sit. I ended up with such a melancholy feeling. Very beautifully written and executed.

s
susan_findlay
May 24, 2017

Interesting and different. I read this book in one sitting - about an hour, I think. It took a few chapters for me to get into it but, once I did, it was easy to appreciate how well the monster functions as a literary device. I liked the unpredictability of the monster's stories and appreciated how they related to Conor's situation. I could see this book being a very useful tool for helping children and teens deal with difficult situations. The reading level itself isn't particularly high - so it ought to be accessible to most - but the subject matter is intense.

lilmisslibrary May 15, 2017

Perhaps not the book to read around Mothers Day.
Beautiful, dark, true.
You will need tissues.

b
Bellerina711
Apr 20, 2017

This book was recommended by a colleague who I will now take recommendations from always. It destroyed me, in the best way. What a lovely tribute to Siobhan Dowd. RIP.

i
Indygo
Apr 18, 2017

Beautiful...This book is a real page turner. The tales the monster tells are not what you expect, which is very unique. Siobhan Dowd's book is a masterpiece which is suitable for any age.

AnnabelleLee27 Mar 14, 2017

A beautiful, haunting, and powerful story about grief, healing, and humanness. This lovely book is not just for young adults but for everyone. The illustrations by Jim Kay are evocative and moody - the perfect enhancement for this moving book. I loved it.

c
CarleeMcDot
Mar 08, 2017

A moving story about a boy who is dealing with the terminal illness of his mother. The illustrations throughout the book add to the tone and feeling of the writing. Although the book is found in the Young Adults section, it is a story that is deeply touching to anyone who gives it a read. (And apparently folks have thought it was super good because they made it into a movie... one that now I will have to watch!)

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Age Suitability

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VV12
Oct 07, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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sienna_volpe
May 30, 2015

sienna_volpe thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

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Kristen MERKE
May 11, 2013

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Hannah03
Jul 24, 2012

Hannah03 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Rilelen
Apr 28, 2012

Rilelen thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 20, 2012

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

zackids Jul 19, 2011

zackids thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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SeWi00404 May 05, 2015

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, is about a boy named Conor O'Malley, who so far, has had a pretty bad life in general. His mom has cancer, his dad left them for another woman, he gets bullied at school, and has a reoccurring nightmare. On top of all this, Conor is also being visited by a monster, who is actually a yew tree in the cemetery across the street. The monster says it is going to tell Conor three stories over a period of time, and after all of the stories have been told, Conor will tell him a fourth. The same thing that has been invading his dreams ever since his mom started her treatments. The Nightmare. In this book, Ness defines what teenagers lives are like. Scary, emotional, angry, angst ridden, and ominous. With captivating pictures on almost every page, Ness tells it like it is. I give this book four out of five stars, and recommend it to people who are having a rough life.

c
ComicCahill39
Jan 24, 2014

A monster calls is about a 13 year old boy named Conor O’Malley has a reoccurring nightmare about a specific monster he can’t get rid of. One night at seven minutes past twelve a monster paid him a visit. The monster wasn’t the one from the nightmare, this monster was the Yew tree from the cemetery across the street. At first Conor thought it was just a figure of his imagination but every time he “woke up” there was some evidence that the monster was real. One time he woke up and stepped in Yew leaves and another time he needed to cut out a sapling from the floorboards in his bedroom. The monster wants one thing from Conor and it wants the truth. The monster would tell Conor three stories for a fourth in return and that story was Conor’s worst nightmare. The way Patrick Ness describes the similarities between characters instead of their differences makes the reader realize that not all characters have to be different and that some characters may be closer than you realize. The technique is very effective especially in this book. Two physically different characters, such as a thirteen year old boy and a Yew tree that is also a monster, can be so close emotionally or mentally just by sharing some experiences and overcoming challenges together. A Monster Calls had both internal and external conflict throughout the story and a great balance of each conflict. At the beginning when the characters’ lives were separate there was more external conflict and in the end when the characters were closer bonded there was more internal conflict with the main characters. Having a connection with the characters can make a story more relatable. In some cases the characters need to be different to continue the story line but sometimes there needs to be the characters that have almost everything in common because they reflect their feelings off each other and this makes it easier to relate to how the characters are actually feeling. Overall I think that this story was beautifully written and I would recommend it to anyone.

mvkramer Sep 27, 2013

Every night for months Conor's been having the same nightmare, where a monster takes his mother away from him, so when a monster actually shows up outside his window at 12:07 he isn't surprised. But it isn't the same monster. This monster is even worse, because it has come to force Conor to tell the truth -- about his mother's sickness, and about himself.

m
Ms_Silva
Oct 23, 2012

Heavily illustrated with dark, realistic sketches. Conor suffers with terrible nightmares of a monster, deals with bullies and isolation at school, and tries to believe his mum when she says her cancer treatments are working. Then the giant yew tree out in the yard becomes a monster who haunts Conor with daytime dreams, telling him 3 parables and requiring Conor to tell the 4th story - his own - himself.

w
wrightlibtech
Mar 24, 2012

Thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley isn’t having an easy time. When he’s asleep, he has nightmares. When he’s at school, he’s bullied. And at home, he watches his mother grow weaker every day as her cancer and treatments vie for control of her body. His grandmother, whom he detests, is talking about him moving in with her, while his father keeps him at a safe distance from his new family. So when the giant yew tree in the graveyard behind Conor’s house twists itself into a monster and comes looking for him, it seems like just one more thing to deal with; until it demands from him the one thing too terrifying to face – the truth.

This is a dense, complex and multilayered book that constantly challenges the reader‘s intellect, morality and sense of reality. The monster, in classic fairy tale fashion, promises to visit Conor three times before returning to extract his due. Early on, the reader shares Conor’s confusion as he struggles to determine whether the monster’s visit was real or merely another dream. The author boldly strews ambiguity throughout the book like the yew needles scattered across Conor’s bedroom floor the morning after the first visitation. Each time the monster comes walking he tells Conor a story, ingenious tales with surprise endings and twists that defy prediction, giving the reader the sense of a rug pulled out from under them. The stories, deceptively simplistic, resemble Conor’s life, where nothing makes sense and nothing is fair. The reader’s understanding of the monster as internal or external, real or imagined, enemy or ally, changes dramatically as the story progresses. This is a book to ponder, to linger over, perhaps even to argue with.

Conor, his family and their circumstances are fully fleshed out and believable. Ness brilliantly succeeds at the task of having the reader fill in the spaces in the narrative with their own emotions rather than simply telling us what his character feels. Pain, panic, fury and guilt are explored in this story where the only ray of light is the love between a mother and her son that is about to be extinguished on one end. The amount of personal growth Conor achieves in a short space of time is staggering, moving through the stages of grief compounded by youthful dependence and the everyday cruelties of high school and broken families. When he gathers his courage at the end of the book, it is with a new, hard-won maturity that gives us hope for his future.

“A Monster Calls” is stunningly illustrated in black-and-white by Jim Kay, adding immensely to the tone of the book. The extensive decorations and pictures, some appearing as negatives with transposed colours, are surreal and nightmarish. Leaving this volume lying about the house would prove irresistible for a teen. In addition to its striking physical appearance the original storyline, powerful drama and conflict will appeal to readers, while many teens will identify with Conor’s struggles with bullying and his step-family, his fight for acceptance, and capacity for conflicting feelings. This book’s message that actions are more important than words or thoughts is both reassuring and a call to arms for readers of all ages.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 20, 2012

The monster comes at 12:07. It would probably be easier for everyone, the monster included, if Conor were afraid of it, but he isn’t. Conor’s afraid of much worse things at the moment. His mom has cancer and this time the treatments don’t seem to be working as well as they have in the past. He’s plagued by a nightmare so awful he believes that no one else ever need know of it. Bullies at school pound him regularly, his grandmother is annoying, and his dad lives with a different family in America. The crazy thing is that Conor kind of wants to be punished, but the monster has a different purpose in mind. It’s going to tell him three stories and when it’s done Conor will tell him a fourth. A fourth that is the truth and also the last thing he’d ever want to say.

zackids Jul 19, 2011

Night after night, Connor is woken by the same nightmare, “the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter who hard he tried to hold on.” It is one night, after waking from this nightmare, that the monster arrives, twisting to life from the yew tree in the graveyard. The monster comes to offer Connor a deal; it will tell Connor three stories, but then he must tell the monster a fourth story, and it must be the truth. However, Connor’s mum is very sick and the truth is the thing that he fears the worst.

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