Published: September, 2011
Genre: fantasy, horror / middle grade
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
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 – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. 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.
This has been my first Patrick Ness book, and it is not even only ‘his’ book, for he took the work and idea of Siobhan Dowd and made it into this book. Everyone that has said anything to me about it mentions how beautiful, powerful and emotional it is, and I definetely can see why they escribe it with those adjectives, but I would not; I was both underwhelmed and disappointedd by A Monster Calls (which is not equivalent to me disliking or hating the book).
Why was I disappointed by it? For starters, there’s basically no plot. I went in thinking there wouldn’t be one, so that was not the reason why I was underwhelmed, but I thought that at least there would be a lesson or a message that would be aimed at the reader. Don’t get me wrong, there is a main message the book tries to send but in my opinion, it was not successfully send. When you go through most of the book and then at the end they throw the message at you, that is not what I call a lesson, you need unravel it, and work it up, not only have a meaningful line so that it seems like you are learning something.
A good thing about the book was Connor, our main character. I didn’t necessarily like him, which I believe was intentional as he, as any human, is flawedd and learning how to be himself,, but I appreciated him as the main character; having a kid be our protagonist was great and his character was portrayed and written in a way that any person relates andd undertsands him; anyone could be Connor.
There are different storylines throughout the book, but I did not like how they connected, if they connected at all; it felt liken they were all over the place. Having the book be so short, which was great for the pacing, meant that these storylines were not as developed as you expected going in the book, or as you kept reading about them. If we have an extra 50-100 pages, my opininon would have been so much different because we would have a purpose and closure about those but they just feel like they’re filling up space; we could have explored all these storylines, which had so much potential. On the other hand, if you wanted a shorter book, just select which stories and work with them, but truly work them.
I really wanted to love and appreciate this book, but in the end, everything about it felt short and underdeveloped. The story was too simple and predictable, and it could have used a little more. I get why the book is popular, and I think it was a very nice idea but, for me, it was overhyped.
Do you agree with my opinion? What are your thoughts on the book? Have you read any other Patrick Ness boosk?