5 Stars, Adult, Book Reviews, Fantasy

Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This was recommended to be quite a few people, so when I saw it at my local library I decided to give it a go. I knew I would cry before I even opened the book, but I do not think I was prepared for what I found in this story.


Title: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Conception)

Genre: Fantasy

Age Classification: Adult

Publisher: Walker Books

Release: May 5, 2011

Available Format(s): PaperbackHardcoverEbookAudio

Beautiful and heartbreaking.

A Monster Calls is the story of Connor, a young boy whose mother has cancer. Connor’s dad has left, he is bullied at school, he feels invisible and, to top it all off, he is having nightmares. Then Connor gets visited by a yew tree (the “monster”) that tells him stories intended to make him question the actions of others and help him acknowledge his true feelings.

I cannot sing this book’s praises enough. The story was insightful and the writing was captivating. I truly believe that both the original idea of Siobhan Dowd and the talent of Patrick Ness’ storytelling abilities have created a masterpiece. Add in the illustrations by Jim kay at the book becomes a complete work of art.

What I loved most about the story was how accurate I found the representation. The sadness, anger, isolation and pain Connor experiences during his mum’s battle with cancer spoke to me as it is scarily close to what I went through when I was younger and lost someone important to me.

The world becomes a dark place when you are watching someone you love deteriorate and know there is nothing you can do to help or save them. The guilt you feel when you wish you did not have to see them slowly die before your eyes is unbearable. The anger has you wanting to smash everything in sight. You cannot stand other people because their lives continue while your world is crashing down around you. The emotional pain becomes so strong that it becomes physical pain. When the time for the final goodbye comes, your heart breaks in ways you could never have imagined.

A Monster Calls tells the story in a way that made me feel all those feelings again. My body ached from the full body sobbing and my heart hurt remembering the pain of my loss. However, I think that shows just how brilliant this book is. No one can ever understand anyone else’s grief as it is personal and different for every person for every loss, but this is a pretty great representation of what mine was like (though I never got a magic yew tree).

Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

I truly believe this is an amazing book and my connection to the book, story and MC only confirmed my 5-star rating was the way to go.
I would not recommend this for children simply because it is full of heavy, emotional content. However, if you want to get an understanding of grief or read brilliant work of heartbreaking fantasy fiction, I 1000000% recommend A Monster Calls.

For those who have lost someone they love;
1. I am sorry for that loss;
2. How do you think it changed you or your view on life?

Until next time bibliophiles!

Amy x

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