A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Inspired by Siobhan Dowd)

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Ever since his mother was diagnosed with cancer, 13-year-old Conor O’Malley has been having a nightmare, but he doesn’t want to admit it. Not to his mother, not to his father, not to anyone at school. One night, at 12:07 AM, Conor wakes up to the sound of his name being called by someone other than his mother and father. Outside, he sees a giant monster, but he isn’t afraid. The nightmare is worse than the monster.

The monster says it will tell Conor three stories and at the end of the third story Conor will have to tell the truth. But when the time comes, will Conor be able to reveal what his nightmare entails?

A Monster Calls is a young adult book, but the subject matter deals with incredibly tough situations, such as bullying and dealing with the illness of a parent. When I was very young, my mother passed away from cancer, so the story really resonated with me. I don’t remember much from that time, but the little I do remember was brought to the front of my mind and allowed me to connect with the character.

Along with the well written story, the art work by Jim Kay is amazing. There were several images that I wished I could have framed and hung on the wall. I feel like including the artwork helped bring the story to the next level and it definitely would not have been the same without it.

I highly recommend A Monster Calls to anyone and everyone. I think it will help young adults who are experiencing the loss of a parent connect with someone and I think it can help adults breach a conversation with a child. While not every situation with loss is the same, I think the emotions that go along with the situation can be very similar and it helps, or so I think, to be able to hear someone else’s experience to help show the person that they are not alone.

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