British author Patrick Ness’ powerful new young adult book “A Monster Calls” is a coming of age story of a 13 year old boy whose divorced mother is ill in a hospital in England. He doesn’t get along with his grandmother, and his divorced father is off in America with a new wife and family.
The main character Conor O’Malley has to bravely deal with all this, plus being bullied at school by 3 male classmates. Block quote from front jacket:
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.
The yew tree in Conor’s backyard comes to life in his imagination or dream (nightmare) world, and tells him 3 profound stories. There a lot of magic and fantasy in this book, but also griping human drama about a young boy and his fears, and of course, Life and Death in the modern age. And it addresses how to handle the “monsters” in one’s existence.
Recommended for any age, with terrific, haunting B/W drawings by Jim Kay. The story was apparently inspired by the late British author Siobhan Dowd, who passed away at age 47 before she could complete her fifth young adult book.
“A Monster Calls” is available on amazon.com. Author Patrick Ness’ website: www.patrickness.com.
Ness is also the author of a famous Chaos Walking trilogy set of fantasy books starting with the clever adventure story “The Knife of Never Letting Go”, which I have read, as well as the 2nd novel, “The Ask and the Answer”. Yet to be read by me is the 3rd book of that series, “Monsters of Men.” That’s obviously my winter break reading task.