Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.
A lot of monsters appear around Halloween. Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts and many other scary creatures haunt our dreams at this time of year. But the book A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd features something much scarier than that. 13 year old Conor is dealing with something much more terrifying that any monster- his mother’s cancer. Nothing can be worse or scarier than the thought of losing his mom. That’s why the nightly appearance in his room of a giant tree creature doesn’t scare him that much even though it should be terrifying.
The monster comes to Conor every night at 12:07 and says he will tell him three stories before Conor must tell him the story of his greatest fear. At first Conor thinks it’s just a nightmare, but when he wakes up there are small branches and leaves in his room even though the window is closed. As if this isn’t enough for a young boy to be facing, he also has to deal with his dad being less involved with him since he’s gotten a new family and everyone at school is treating him differently because they know about his mom’s illness.
A Monster Calls is a great short novel (about 200 pages) read that will have you fearing both monsters and losing anyone close to you. There are also some wonderful illustrations that help bring the story to life by award winning artist Jim Kay. I can almost guarantee that you will cry at some point before the story is over. It might even make you appreciate your life and the lives of the people around you even more. It’s also being made into a movie featuring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones. You might want to check out this great book before seeing the movie.