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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Teenage Book of the Month

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books 2011

From the author of The Chaos Walking Trilogy comes this page turning novel based on the next book Siobhan Dowd would have written were it not for her untimely death. Award-winner Patrick Ness takes the legacy left behind by one of the best teenage writers in recent years and gives the story his distinct and predictably appealing working.

In A Monster Calls, Conor’s mother has cancer and is putting on a brave face for the sake of her son, focusing outwardly at least on the treatment programme she must follow. But despite her efforts the end is inevitable and something Conor cannot accept.

Nightmares haunt Conor’s nights. The recurring presence of a monster from the darkness with the accompanying wind and screams is just another daily endurance test for him. Unbearable as this may seem it’s a different monster that Conor is further pressed to contend with. This time it’s something ancient and wild demanding the most dangerous thing of all from him…..the truth. Through their interaction Conor learns to come to terms with his grief.

In the author’s note Patrick Ness writes

Almost before I could help it, Siobhan’s ideas were suggesting new ones to me, and I bagan to feel that itch that every writer longs for: the itch to start getting words down, the itch to tell a story.

A Monster Calls is the result of a triumphant coming together of two of the finest writers of Young Adult novels, Siobhan Dowd and Patrick Ness.