A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness

First Sentence: The monster showed up just after midnight.

A Monster Calls deals with a young boy, Conor O’Malley, and how he deals with his mother’s terminal cancer. It’s not often I read books aimed at children but I was a fan of the Chaos Walking Trilogy and so I was looking forward to this greatly. It didn’t disappoint. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Jim Kay (click the cover for a sample), it is a deeply moving story that deals with a very difficult subject in a compassionate and realistic way. Conor is having difficulties dealing with his mother’s illness and he has a recurring nightmare where she is falling and he cannot hang on to her. Added to this is problems with bullies, his overbearing grandmother and his absent father. (Not to mention the yew tree monster who has started visiting him every night at 12:07). All in all this is a hugely enjoyable read, one I enjoyed a lot more than some other so-called literary books.

* * * *

Last Sentence: And by doing so, he could finally let her go.

Last Sentence explained: The ending, though obvious, is incredibly moving. Conor’s mom dies (no surprise really, she was terminally ill) and Conor finally finds peace. This is oversimplifying it however, the real power lies in the storytelling, and at that, Ness is becoming very special indeed.


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