A Monster Calls
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A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay

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 one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth…

Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner 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 of coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.


Conor is still lying awake just after midnight when the monster calls. It stands outside his window and tells him it has come to get him. It shakes his house until the pictures fall off the walls.

But he isn’t afraid of the monster. After all, he’s got bigger things to worry about: his mum’s cancer treatments have started again, his domineering grandmother wants him to move in with her, and his dad is in America with his new family. Not to mention the nightmares he keeps having… the ones he wakes up from screaming. Those are the things that really scare him.

So when the monster announces he’s going to tell him three stories, Conor is less than impressed. What could tales of princes and witches possibly have to do with his life?

A Monster Calls began as an idea from the late Siobhan Dowd, the Carnegie Award-winning author of Bog Child and Solace of the Road. When she passed away in 2007, Patrick Ness (pictured above) took over from Dowd’s notes and spun it into a tale of his own – and what an amazing tale it is! Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy is perhaps my favourite series of all, so I approached A Monster Calls with equal parts trepidation and excitement. This was a different territory than the epic dystopian story that began in The Knife of Never Letting Go, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I should never have doubted the product of these two wonderful writers, because A Monster Calls is simply breathtaking. You’ll pick it up and keep reading it until the last page, and even then it will stay with you for a long time afterwards. The ink-splattered black and white illustrations from Jim Kay are somewhat like a Rorschach test, and suit the mood of this sombre yet uplifting tale perfectly.

This is definitely a book to get excited about, and I can see it garnering lots of awards, with good reason. If you’re looking for a book that will keep you engrossed until the very end, look no further than A Monster Calls.

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