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A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
Inspired by Siobhan Dowd
Candlewick Press, 2011
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
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. 

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, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

I read this one for a challenge and also because it just won two big awards. I somehow thought this book was about Frankenstein. I don't know why. I was definitely mistaken. I bet one about Frankenstein came out at around the same time and had a similar cover. Anyway, that's not the point. 

The story is moving, believable and sad. It's not one I would have picked up on my own, because there aren't many girls in it, but I am glad I did. This book was beautifully written - it reminded me of Neil Gaiman a bit - and the illustrations are incredible. They fit perfectly into the story. There weren't too few or too many, and they were powerful. It really did deserve both awards. 

It's one of those books that makes you think about life after you've finished it. I was just sitting outside on a beautiful day, enjoying reading in the sun, and somewhere, someone else is going through what Conor and his family were going through. It made me appreciate my blessings and my family's health. I definitely took some time after finishing it to sit quietly and let it soak in. It's an emotional book, especially if you know someone who is ill. Be prepared for that.

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