Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Borrowed from my library.
Published September 27, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads 

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

I first heard of A Monster Calls over at Katie's book blog, Book Love. After reading her review I knew I immediately needed to read this book! I'm so grateful that Katie wrote such a wonderful review because without it I doubt I would have picked this one up, which would have been a complete shame because it's such an incredible story. This was my first book by Patrick Ness, but it's definitely not going to be my last!

One of the many awesome things about this book is that it has absolutely beautiful pictures that illustrate the craziness that the main character, Coner's, been going through. I love how the drawings were dark and spooky, but were also breathtakingly gorgeous all at the same time. The art definitely added a unique twist to an already exceptional story.

Early on in the story we find out that Coner's mother is very ill and that it's obviously affecting his entire life. He is pretty independent for his age and tries to be strong for his mother in the only ways he knows how. The monster always comes at 12:07, but Coner has something way more terrifying to be scared about, this nightmare that he has almost every night. Since the book didn't say straight away what the nightmare was, it definitely kept me interesting in finding out what could be worse than this Yew Tree monster visiting you? The monster told Coner that he was going to tell him three true stories and in turn Coner would have to tell him his own truth in a story.

I loved that the three stories the Monster told Coner were definitely not the most conventional 'bedtime stories' and how the ending of each story wasn't what I (or Coner) was expecting. Each story the Monster told definitely left an impact on me. The morals were incredible and just because they may not be things one always hears, doesn't mean that they weren't true. I think more stories need to include the truth, no matter how contradictory or unpleasant it might sometimes be.

I was warned before I picked up A Monster Calls that it was a tear jerker, but I didn't expect that I'd tear up that much! There were sometimes in the book why I didn't even realize or really know why I was crying. Now, I think I was just so connected to Coner's emotions that the littlest thing that he'd feel, I'd feel it right along with him. I totally lost it at one of the scenes towards the end, it's really when the moral of Ness's story hit me full force.

Amazing Quote:
"Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Although A Monster Calls may be a short read, it definitely didn't leave me short on emotions. This story feels like it will be passed on for generations and something you will tell your children about. Jim Kay's beautiful drawings mixed with Patrick Ness's breathtaking writing is the perfect mix to create a story that will be passed on for ages.


  1. I never heard about this book from before. You liked so that means that I will like it too. thanks for the review.

  2. Yaaaay! So happy you liked it. This was an awesome review!! I liked that you talked about the monster's stories. At first I was just so confused, but then in retrospect, there is so much wisdom there! Now I hope you go read Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy :) Best. Books. Ever.

  3. I've been meaning to read this book for ages but I haven't got around to it yet. I must read it soon!!!

  4. Really glad you enjoyed this on Katie .. I'm going to check it out on Goodreads :) !! Thanks for the review :)

  5. wasn't it just beautiful. i love the illustrations too :) a must read.

  6. Oh wow. It sounds so good. And it's that much of a tear jerker? Awesome. I must try this one.

  7. Ecey says this book is amazing. I still need to get it. Glad you liked it!

  8. I havent read this one yet but having recently read The Knife of Never Letting Go I definitely want to! great review, glad you liked this one! :D

  9. I think it's a trademark of Patrick Ness to make you weep without realizing it. I tried to read this on the airplane and had to stop, because it was just too public. Such a lovely book!