Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd— whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself— Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, and monsters both real and imagined.There is nothing in the world that could prepare a person to face a life that has been shattered by circumstances. Let alone when that life belongs to a ten-year-old boy, Connor, whose father left to live with his new family in the States, leaving him behind with his beloved mother, who is fighting for something that may not end the way he wants it to be. There is too much that weigh on his small shoulders without having anyone there that he could really turn to. One day, The Monster that claims to be answering Connor’s call starts visiting him at the exact time, 12:07, everyday. Taking the form of a yew tree, he brings along with him three true yet unpredictable stories, which he presents to Connor one at a time. Once he is done, The Monster wants Connor to tell him a true story, one that Connor swears not to tell anyone, or else he will eat Connor alive. In the midst of this chaos in Connor’s life, is seeing this Monster the sign that Connor has actually reaches his breaking point? Or The Monster is really there for a grand purpose that Connor could only see once he is ready to see it?
A Monster Calls is truly an epic tale that is compact with concise, lyrical prose and full to the brink with mixes of emotions. Having just finished this book for the second time, I feel that I’ve just stepped off an extremely emotional roller coaster ride, witnessing a life that no ten-year-old really should have. The original idea of this book comes from the late Siobhan Dowd, the Carnegie Award winner, and the author, Patrick Ness, deserves a standing ovation for his remarkable job in turning this idea into a memorable and beautiful story that could moves anyone who reads it to tears. I strongly believe that the outstanding black and white illustrations by Jim Kay really help in accentuating the dark theme of the book and suit the sombre mood perfectly. Another one thing that truly satisfies me is when I finally figure out the significance of every metaphors and symbolisms that Ness used throughout the story. It is like everything is there for a reason and to really see the puzzle being put together, pieces by pieces, really gives me such an incredible feeling.
To be quite honest, I truly cannot list down anything that I did not like in A Monster Calls. This is not the book that you can tell whether it is good or it is bad by analysing its characters or its plots, but rather by reflecting its meaning and see how much it fits to real life. Reading A Monster Calls makes me think back about my life when I was ten, the age when I feel that future is like a sea that will give me access to everywhere without realising that there is something sinister down there that can snatch me at anytime and put my life to a sudden halt. Connor meets that sinister creature, so does many other children in this world and for some reason I really cannot stop thinking about that. Despite sounding like a middle grade novel by judging from its description and a hybrid of paranormal and fantasy genre by its cover, A Monster Calls is indeed a pure contemporary novel that speaks for people of all ages. I highly recommended this book to everyone despite its depressing and emotionally exhausting nature cause I assure you that every single tears that you shed will be totally worth it. Kudos to Patrick Ness for providing us with such a masterpiece.