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Moving Must-Read | Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls affected me deeply – read on to find out why…

Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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a monster calls patrick ness book review

Title & Author: A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd by Patrick Nesss, Illustrated by Jim Kay

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult – Fantasy

Release Date: September 27, 2011

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Candlewick Press

How I Got the Book: Bought


“The monster showed up 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…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.”

An Absolutely Must-Read

A Monster Calls is hard to describe. It’s part fantasy, part horror (only a little, I promise) and part children’s story.

Conor’s having a rough time of it. His mother is undergoing cancer treatments and he’s getting beaten up at school. To top it off, he now has a monster outside his window demanding to know his deepest darkest secrets…especially his fears.

The first thing to say about this book is I recommend you buy the version with the illustrations. I believe there are several editions available, but make sure it has the artwork (see an example below) because it makes all the difference.

A Monster Calls patrick ness book review

This is not a book to be read on an e-reader.

Next, I’d say that you shouldn’t pick up this book unless you’re ready to read something that will reach down in your heart and move you.

I couldn’t believe this seemingly simple story about a little boy’s life could impact me so much – and on a deeply personal level.

What makes A Monster Calls truly special is its presentation of fears and insecurities in a tangible way that both Conor and the reader can physically deal with. The reader can slip easily into Conor’s mind, which is one incredible feat.

Any book that evokes emotion in me (ie quietly sobbing at 8 a.m. finishing this book) is worth its weight in gold.


Patrick Ness with Jim Kay’s illustrations has created a new middle grade/YA classic. A Monster Calls is a must-read book for lovers of excellent writing moving prose – run don’t walk to buy it!!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Wow – just ordered it 😉