More Than This by Patrick Ness

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61iu72bptrll-_sx307_bo1204203200_Seth is drowning. Being pummeled by wave after wave, barely having a chance to catch a breath of air. The waves slam him into a rock. Seth feels his skull crack open. And then he wakes up in a place that can only be described as his own personal hell. Where is he really? And what really happened to him?

If you’re looking for a suspenseful and heart wrenching, semi-coming of age novel, this is your book. While I thought the beginning of the More Than This was a bit slow, it turned into a page turner. There were many times throughout the book where my pulse was racing and I found myself holding my breath in anticipation of what was to come. The characters are lifelike and I became invested in them almost immediately. Patrick Ness does a great job at pacing out the story with plenty of twists and turns that left me guessing the entire time. Even at the end, I wasn’t completely sure if any of it was real, but I think that’s the point. It places you exactly where the characters are: confused with no positive or solid answers.

However, I did have two issues with the book. The first was I felt that Ness was a bit repetitive. He had the characters repeating themselves several times throughout the book to the point where I was like, ‘OK, I get it, let’s move on.’ The second issue was I felt that the ending was a bit anti-climatic. When I was close to the end I was prepared to give the book 5 stars on Goodreads, that’s how good it was. But then the end kind of petered out and left me slightly disappointed. Which was tough because I—like the characters—wanted answers, but at the same time I liked that I was in the same boat as the characters with not having solid answers on anything. While it creates more of a connection with the characters, I think a bit more closure at the end would have made the ending better.

Despite the few issues I had with More Than This, I still enjoyed it a lot. This was the second book I have read by Ness (the first being A Monster Calls) and his amazing writing and ability to tell terrific stories makes me want to pick up another one of his books. I’ve actually had my eye on The Rest of Us Just Live Here for a while, so hopefully I can get myself a copy soon!

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A Monster Calls: A Movie Review

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monster_callsWhen faced with having to cope with his mother’s illness, Conor unknowingly calls upon an ancient tree monster for help confronting a secret he keeps bottled up inside of him.

Based on the book by the same name, A Monster Calls is a powerful film about loss and learning how to cope with grief. I was glad that I was able to see this movie while it was still in theaters. I loved the book when I had read it in 2015, and the movie was just as well done. It may be due to the fact that the author of the book, Patrick Ness, also wrote the screenplay, but I felt that the movie stayed true to the book. The only change that I think could have made the movie better was a bit more explanation in some parts. For instance, it felt like there was a bit of information missing from the bullying story line that makes the way that it culminates at the end a little confusing to those who had not read the book.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the art that accompanied the stories told by the monster. The main reason why I bought the book was because of the illustrations by Siobhan Dowd and so I was very happy when the stories were illustrated on screen with an awesome water color type art. The make-up done for the mother (played by Felicity Jones) as her illness progressed was also believable and well done. While I did enjoy all of the actors involved, I didn’t picture the grandmother being so young and there were some instances where I thought Liam Neeson’s voice acting for the Monster was a little off for the character, making it not as serious as it probably should have been. Although, since the movie is a tearjerker, it did help to have the mood of the movie lightened a bit.

Overall, I highly recommend seeing A Monster Calls when it comes out on DVD, especially if you’re in one of those moods where you need a good, long cry.

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.