Leigh Collazo's Reviews > A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
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Dec 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read on December 29, 2011

More reviews at http://readerpants.blogspot.com.

WHAT I LIKED: Love the format! We really need more books with gritty illustrations for teen readers. All I have to do is show this one to students, and off it goes.

Lots of suspense. I kept turning pages, desperate to find out what "truth" the monster wants from Conor and whether Conor's mother will magically get better. The stories the monster tells are interesting, as are the "lessons" gained from the stories.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The only drawback I can see about this one (and the reason I rated it a 4 instead of a 5) is that I do not see A Monster Calls being a huge hit with lots of teen readers, particularly those who have never experienced a loss of their own. Granted, some will definitely like it and identify with Conor, but I worry that it will not reach its intended audience. After reading the jacket summary, I was ready to sink my teeth into a nice juicy horror novel. Even though Conor spends the entire story frightened, A Monster Calls is not horror. It's a deep and relatively simple story about coping with a loved one's illness and the fear, anger, isolation, and consuming grief that accompany it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The book will be popular, and middle and high school librarians should definitely purchase it. It's creative, unique, and at times, a page-turner. However, students looking for a horror novel might be disappointed that A Monster Calls is not about *that* kind of monster.
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