Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)

Posted April 1, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 21 Comments

Review:  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay
Series: standalone
Published by Candlewick Press on March 12th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Pages: 206
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

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.

Guys, I am going to be honest here. I picked this book up because a ton of people asked me if I read it, with the movie out, I finally stumbled upon this book in the library and decided to give it a shot.

I went into this blindly. I never read the blurb or asked people what it was about and stayed away from detailed reviews. I was told when it comes to this book, that was the best way to go about it anyway. So I am having a hard time writing the review. I am going to keep it short and sweet and basically tell you that if you had not read it yet, read it. Don’t just pick up the ebook either. Go to your local library if you have to and get the physical book because the drawing in the book really add to the experience.

The actual idea of this book came from Siobhan Dowd, but it was Patrick Ness, who brought her vision to life after she was taken too soon by cancer. Patrick Ness did a beautiful job bringing her beloved characters to life, leaving us with a book that I will think span generations. When I read the book last night, I was rocked with emotion, but it wasn’t until the day after that I got to sit down, let it sink in and truly experience its effect.

The story is about a boy named Conor and his ill mother. It is haunting, it is beautiful, atmospheric and downright emotional. If you have dealt with loss, it’s grief and pain, I strongly suggest you read this. Even if you haven’t experienced loss yet, I strongly suggest you read this. But I think it’s safe to say most of us did at one point or another and this book just captures most of what we go through so well.

I expect this book will have a different experience and effect on everyone. Which is okay. I believe that’s the whole point anyway, as we each experience the monster and its interpretation differently in the moments of weakness and hopelessness.

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21 responses to “Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)

  1. I read this recently and I was a flailing ball of emotions after. Then I watched the movie with my son and he just about lost it at the end. He went into his room and write me a letter about how much he loves me. It really affected him. Then he read the book after and declared it his favorite book in the world. He carried it with him everywhere. I love my kiddo.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  2. I didn’t know about the book until the movie was releasing. I’ve been being a coward about it because I know it will hit me hard.

    Thanks for sharing about it, Lily!

  3. I agree with everything you say. I read this book back when it was first published and picked up the audio for a re-read a few months ago. The audio is actually quite amazing and I ended up liking it more the second time around. I am so glad you enjoyed this one!

  4. The last line of your review gave me much to think about. I don’t know if I have the heart for a book like this right now I have to admit. Wonderful, thoughtful review.

  5. I kind of black sheeped on this one by only giving it three stars. I thought the story was wonderful, but I felt it relied on the subject matter to evoke an emotional response, not the writing of it. He is a good writer, but I was underwhelmed in comparison to the masses of bloggers singing his writerly praises. 😊 Thanks for sharing your review!

  6. Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

    I saw the film-adaptation of this book just last week and I really like it. I need get a copy!

  7. I have seen nothing but rave reviews for this book. Absolutely everyone seems to love it and be moved by it, but to be honest, I’ve just never felt led to pick it up. Or see the movie. Maybe one of these days I’ll change my mind but for now… *shrugs* I’m happy to see that you enjoyed it (if this is actually one that you can enjoy) and that it made an impact on you.

  8. I’ve really been looking forward to reading this one, and your review has just fueled my excitement! We actually grabbed this one when we saw the trailer for the movie because we wanted to read it first but haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one and that it had such a powerful effect on you. And I absolutely love your last line. Awesome review, Lily! 🙂


  9. I’ve been very curious about this title since the moment they announced the movie, glad to hear you loved it! I’ll read it at some point for sure 🙂

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