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A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd Paperback – Illustrated, March 12, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 4,626 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

Profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale… a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations… tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

There’s no denying it: this is one profoundly sad story. But it’s also wise, darkly funny and brave, told in spare sentences, punctuated with fantastic images and stirring silences. Past his sorrow, fright and rage, Conor ultimately lands in a place — an imperfect one, of course — where healing can begin. A MONSTER CALLS is a gift from a generous story­teller and a potent piece of art.
—The New York Times

A nuanced tale that draws on elements of classic horror stories to delve into the terrifying terrain of loss. . . . Ness brilliantly captures Conor’s horrifying emotional ride as his mother’s inevitable death approaches. In an ideal pairing of text and illustration, the novel is liberally laced with Kay’s evocatively textured pen-and-ink artwork, which surrounds the text, softly caressing it in quiet moments and in others rushing toward the viewer with a nightmarish intensity.A poignant tribute to the life and talent of Siobhan Dowd and an astonishing exploration of fear.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Ness twists out a resolution that is revelatory in its obviousness, beautiful in its execution, and fearless in its honesty. Kays artwork keeps the pace, gnawing at the edges of the pages with thundercloud shadows and keeping the monster just barely, terribly seeable.
—Booklist (starred review)

A masterpiece about life and loss that will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.
—Library Media Connection (starred review)

The heavily textured monochromatic illustrations are silent screams, rendering Conor's inner chaos palpable with dense shading and jagged edges symbolizing the wildness within while shifting perspectives alternately create intimacy and distance, like the push and pull he feels as he tries to stay engaged in an impossibly painful situation… Emotionally wrenching, this draws truth across pain in a way that is accessible to middle-school readers.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Heart-wrenching and thought-provoking.
—The Horn Book

Patrick Ness is an insanely beautiful writer.
—TIME Magazine

The power of this beautiful and achingly sad story for readers over the age of 12 derives not only from Mr. Ness's capacity to write heart-stopping prose but also from Jim Kay's stunning black-ink illustrations. There are images in these pages so wild and ragged that they feel dragged by their roots from the deepest realms of myth.
—Wall Street Journal

The monster is a brilliant creation — part giant, part yew tree, destructive, didactic, elemental...The book has the thrills and ambition you would expect from the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy...Ness, Dowd, Kay and Walker have rifled death's pockets and pulled out a treasure.
—The Guardian

Featured/recommended on Oprah's 2012 Kids Reading List
—Oprah.com

An honest, heart-wrenching story that moved me to tears.
—John Boyne (author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)

About the Author

 

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick; Illustrated edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0763660655
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0763660659
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 - 17 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 730L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.08 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 0.61 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 4,626 ratings

About the author

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Patrick Ness is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Chaos Walking trilogy, A Monster Calls, More Than This and The Rest Of Us Just Live Here. John Green has described him as "an insanely beautiful writer". He has won every major prize in children's fiction, including the Carnegie Medal twice. He's written the film of A Monster Calls as well, out 2016. He lives in London.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
4,626 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2018
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71 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent and Pure Emotion
By Samantha McCallion on September 22, 2017
Never have I read such a poignant and accessible book on accepting monsters invading our lives.
This book is a mere 205 pages, easily readable in a day due to the layout, but has stuck with me continuously over the past two years.
Conor is a young boy filled with fear because of his mothers illness, and harbors the bravery of a thousand men. As we all do at every point in our life, he needs guidance, given to him in the form of the monster- a yew tree. He is as old as the land, and has many stories to tell- four of which he tells Conor.
Patrick Ness has done an excellent job capturing and humanizing the reality none of us want or know how to face, and forces us to confront the same fears Conor is experiencing. There were many moments where my face was soaked in tears. Death and the way we experience it, our truth, is a topic Ness gracefully introduces and allows us to feel the pain along with his main character. Conor is more human and more real than any other character I have encountered.

The illustrations by Jim Kay are beautifully done, creating a slightly uncomfortable but very enthralling atmosphere between the pages.

When someone asks for a young-adult recommendation, I immediately suggest A Monster Calls, with the warning that there will be emotions not usually confronted by young adults. Be prepared for difficult, but important, discussions with your students, friends, or children .
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20 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2016
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19 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
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11 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Susan
4.0 out of 5 stars If you don't buy this book you're weird because it's excellent!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2018
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23 people found this helpful
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Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2017
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20 people found this helpful
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M L Sparrow
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't mind admitting that it made me cry!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2017
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9 people found this helpful
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Sheeshee06/sslovesbooks
5.0 out of 5 stars OH MY! - a must read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2019
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3 people found this helpful
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Danny Farham
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and beautiful...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2017
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7 people found this helpful
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