Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor's mother is dying from cancer and he is having a recurring nightmare every night. A nightmare that he can't tell anyone about. But one night after midnight a monster shows up. It originates from the yew tree behind his house, but this monster is able to walk. It's also able to talk and tell stories and it demands the truth. Conor thinks it can't be real but how else could he explain the leaves of the yew tree strewn about his floor in the morning and the destruction that the monster can cause? Conor's grandma is called in to take care of him when his mother is hospitalized. His estranged father also comes to visit from America. But Conor is essentially alone with his fear about the bleak future of his mother. It doesn't help that he is bullied at school and at odds with his former best friend. Patrick Ness is a fabulous writer and in his hands this story is compelling, creepy, and so, so emotionally true. Perhaps because I lost my mother to cancer I especially relate to Conor's emotional journey. I'm not going to lie to you, the end of this book will break your heart. Recommended for older middle school readers through adults.

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