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I have been reading aloud to my twins every night, and I thought this might be a book they would enjoy, because of the illustrations. I ended up finishing it with them within 24 hours.

You know how you come across a book, and after reading it, you feel like EVERYONE needs to read it as well? That is how I felt with this book. As a mother, this book ripped my heart to shreds, and put me in an emotional state as I was reading it to my sons. But it was worth every tear I shed. Guys, if you haven't read this book, Do it! The story, the writing, the illustrations, this book was pure perfection and a total 5 out of 5 stars for me.

If you have read this, what were your thoughts?
55 helpful votes
56 helpful votes
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on March 29, 2017
Although Mr. Ness does not make A MONSTER CALLS a fast paced novel, and the book actually starts out somewhat slowly, he developes a very good plot and theme that hold your attention whatever your age. The book addresses many issues dealt with during middle school years. These include but are not limited to, serious illness &/or death of a parent, bullying, and interpersonal relationship skills. It offers insights into the mind of the young adolescent, as well as insights into the whys of adult decision making & behavior. Definitely a book all ages can enjoy.
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on January 28, 2016
This book is AMAZING!!!!!!! Everyone should read it as soon as possible :) There are so many things I loved about it but let’s start with the illustration. While there aren’t pictures in all the editions, it is definitely worth it to try and hunt an illustrated one down. They added so much to the story and there were so well drawn!

I also loved the prose and look forward to reading more books by Patrick Ness in the future! I loved how this story validated everything that Conor was feeling and the actions he took. This doesn’t mean that Conor always took the best course of action, but the reader can easily see and understand why Conor acts the way he does. Ness did a great job of portraying the desperation Conor felt for life outside of home to resume normally, for school to serve as an escape from his reality at home. This is a powerful story that describes the many feelings that children can feel when experiencing grief and depression, and could be a great tool that helps children from ages 10-14 to understand their own grief when experiencing tragedy.
2 helpful votes
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on May 23, 2017
I really enjoyed the way this book was written. These days, it seems you don't get a lot in the way of fantastical storytelling, but this is a rare exception. It kept my interest, and even though I knew it probably would not be the best ending, I knew it would be a true ending. Conor is a likeable character, because he is real; he is a flawed human, not just some tough kid we've all read about a hundred times. He is going through something no one should ever have to go through, and at a terribly young age, as well. I was not too keen about the grandmother at first, but then I had to put it in the perspective that not only was Conor coming to terms about letting his mother go, his grandmother had to accept the impending loss of her daughter. So, this was a great story, and I found it to be very creative. The "stories within a story" were really good, as well. Definitely recommended.
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on December 18, 2013
Delicate, hard, soft and absolutely true. Are you ready for the monster you've called?
A must read.

There are some books that are so special to the reader that they are a bit difficult to review. A Monster Calls is one of those. I had to read it all over again - for the third time - before I could write this review.

First of all, don't be fooled by the reviews that say this book speaks about a woman dying of cancer and her relationship with her son.
Yes, it does, but it has much more to it than this, and claiming it is so, diminishes a book full of lessons, morals and ethics. And love.
The sensitiveness, delicacy and openness of spirit of both Patrick Ness and Siohban Dowd, who died of cancer before she could finish the story, make this reading a revealing experience for those who are ready to look beyond the story line.

"A Monster Calls" didn't really surprise me with twists and turns, or with an unexpected end. No. I followed the plot guessing what I would find in the next line. But that didn't make the book less spectacular. Not even a bit.
I know by now that the truth is always hard, no matter how old you are, specially the truth you don't want to acknowledge.
But the unexpectedness and the beauty of this book lies on its way of deconstructing the truth by making we see it, by peeling away slowly the masks of our needed lies and fantasies.
Am I being too cryptic?
Our ego-lies - or ego-denials - to our id-fantasies just make life harder and harder to bear until we can't stand it no more. Either we let them go or they crush us.
Veritas vos liberativ.
Are we ready to know the truth? Are we willing to? What is the price of freedom?
Are we ready for the monster we've called?

P.S. 1-
Is this a children book? I would hesitate in saying yes. But as children are much wiser than us adults, maybe.
Is it a teenage book? Yes.
Is this a book for adults? Definitively. This book is like an intense therapy session with ourselves.
P.S. 2- I read this on Kindle. It didn't bother me at all to have those illustrations not so perfect. I... hmmm... have a fertile imagination and often prefer the written world than the illustrated one.
2 helpful votes
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on September 10, 2016
This book is definitely on my “one-timer” list. A “one-timer” is a good or great book that I will only read once because it is too emotionally draining or intense for me to handle. I admit I don’t usually read/listen to these types of stories because of the emotional drain they cause. I know some folks find them very therapeutic or cathartic but that is not me so I had force myself through this one.

That being stated it doesn’t mean this book isn’t good because it is actually a very well done story with a great buildup of tension and emotion. The relationship between Connor and the Monster didn’t seem forced or unrealistic and there was a natural flow to the story. Even though you know the ending is coming, the force of it isn’t lessened because of the good job the author did of building the emotional ties to the characters of Connor and his mom.

Jason Isaacs did an absolutely fabulous job with the narration in this book. Then again as far as I am concerned he could read the phone book and I would be happy. It was very interesting though as he voiced each of the characters I created a very vivid image in my head of how each character appeared and that was due to his great ability.
1 helpful vote
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on January 5, 2017
So this book was not at all what I expected it to be but it was still so good. The ending is a tear-jerker, for sure. By that I mean I sat there heartbroken hugging my fluffy puppy trying to make the sad thoughts go away. There are stories out there that teach you a lesson but this book goes above and beyond that. It teaches a few lessons and in a way that younger audiences will be able to understand it.

There are awesome pictures in this book which is probably the main reason I got it. Who can turn down a picture book? The illustrations are well done and really helped the story come to life. I got this book because it was on several must-read lists so I felt like I had to get it. Then once I got it I had to immediately read it which normally never happens to me. I get a book and it rots on my shelf for months before I finally pick it up to read, sometimes years.

Conor was a great character, he was just a thirteen-year-old boy trying to come to terms with what was happening to his mom. It's a sad, hard thing to deal with and he felt so alone. I wanted to wrap him up in a hug and protect him from all the bad things that were happening to him. The monster, helped him find the truth that was hidden beneath himself. I ended up looking forward to the scenes with the monster and I looked forward to his stories. Even though Conor didn't quite get what the monster was trying to tell him most of the time.

I see that this is going to be a movie and I refuse to see it in theaters. No way am I crying surrounded by a bunch of people that I don't know. I can see why it was on so many must-read lists, though, it's definitely worth a read.
5 helpful votes
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on January 18, 2017
I kind of felt he built it too too much, like went around too much over the same thing and the final outcome is completely expected so, the repetitive and extensive development of the book leads no where exciting. I knew since the beginning what all the plot would turn out to be, and I wasn't surprised at any point. It does have a nice metaphor to it all and the story is not bad but I ended unsatisfied.
3 helpful votes
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on March 28, 2017
This book is exactly why I sometimes like "Young Adult" or youth books far more than adult books. You get something - some bit of wisdom or insight - out of this kind of book. Thought provoking, emotional, and strangely "real," despite the fact it features a tree that turns into a moving, speaking being. I'm not sure most younger people will get hit very hard by this. But I imagine for a lot of adults, with life experience behind them, it's a punch in the gut.
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on January 8, 2017
[MAY contain Spoilers]

What an incredibly beautiful, and terrific (meaning, wonderful but terrifying at times) book. It's been a while since I've been so moved by a tale. I would highly recommend this read...but make sure you have a few tissues nearby.

Side note: (The hardcover version of this novel is BEAUTIFUL, and I'd highly recommend on adding it to your collection. Everything from the page texture, to the artwork of the cover and throughout the book, add so much depth and personality which truly enhance the story while reading.)

Death is always moving, in one way or another. Whether it evokes anger, separation, anxiety, sadness, contemplation, or fear, it touches everyone. A Monster Calling walks through the process of grieving, before death even shows its face. It is about coming to terms with the inevitable, and letting go of the control we may wish to have.

"He could feel drops of sweat gathering on his forehead, and his chest felt like it was glowing with heat. (-almost like being in the nightmare, that same feverish blur of the world slipping off its axis, but this time he was the one in control, this time he was the nightmare-)"

It is an emotional tale from the prospective of a boy, Conor, who's mum is ill. From the beginning, there is a premonition of how the tale will end, but it how Conor arrives there which matters the most.

Whether death has met you at some point in your life, or hasn't yet, this book provides an interesting perspective on the topic. Normally we think of monsters as beasts who terrorize. But, in this case, maybe the monster in your life is the only thing who may have the ability to help you through. Maybe it is the only one who can help you see the truth, and the light, rather than fear of the darkness.

“If you speak the truth, the monster whispered in his ear, you will be able to face whatever comes.”
5 helpful votes
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