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A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.Conor was awake when it came.He’d had a nightmare. Well, not a nightmare. The nightmare. The one he’d been having a lot lately. The one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter how hard he tried to hold on….”Ness brings us deep into the life of a thirteen-year-old boy, Conor, who has been facing monsters everywhere he looks. His mother is very sick with cancer. His father left the family to start a new family in America. His grandmother and he don’t get along. His friends and he have had a falling out. He’s being tormented by a bully at school. Then, at midnight, a monster appears to Conor. An enormous yew tree with “a great and terrible face” that groans “like the hungry stomach of the world growling for a meal.” The yew tree is “the tears that the rivers cry,” and both “the wolf that kills the stag, the hawk that kills the mouse, the spider that kills the fly” as well as “the stag, the mouse, and the fly that are eaten.” The tree is terrifying and beautiful, and he has appeared to tell the boy three stories and to then listen to the story the boy must tell.‘"Stories are the wildest things of all," the monster mumbled. "Stories chase and bite and hunt."’A Monster Calls is brilliant. Ness tells a tale that is fantastic and real, with characters that are ordinary and extraordinary, in a way that is horrifying and calming. ‘"Stories are important,” the monster said. “They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth."’