A Monster Calls-Review

Author:  Patrick Ness
Reading Range: 4.8
Interest Range:   Young Adult (Follett Library)
Plot:  Conor’s mother has cancer.  He is alone trying to deal with that fact.  One night, a monster comes to him and tells him that he will tell him three stories and Conor has to tell him one in return.  This story is about what Conor fears the most otherwise, he will eat him. As the monster tells his stories, Conor discovers that people are more complex then he realizes.  Conor starts to realize that his mother is not as well as she says.  In fact, his mother has been downplaying how sick she really is.  Conor hopes the monster is here to heal his mother but who is the monster really here for?
Review:  This is a hard book because it is talking about how a boy who is trying to deal with dead and dying.  Conor is only thirteen but he has to handle issues that most adults have trouble dealing with.  There are no easy answers in this book.  The monster is both cruel and kind telling Conor the truths he need to let his mother go. Conor is not perfect.  He is trying to find his way through his mother’s illness.  I would recommend this book to people who like stories that are not easy and do not mind crying.
Additional Info:  This book is based on an idea by the author, Siobhan Dowd.  She died of breast cancer before she could write it.  Patrick Ness took the outline she created and wrote the story.
Main Characters:
Conor O’Malley-His mother is sick with cancer.   He has become “the boy whose mother has cancer” at his school.  He hates that.
Conor’s Mother-She has cancer.  She is not truthful with Conor about how sick she really is.
Liam-Conor’s father who lives in American with his new wife and child.
Grandmother-His mother’s mother.  He does not get along with her.  She is caring for Conor while his mother is in the hospital.

Theme: Circle of lifeDeath,Growing up,Isolation, Loss of innocence

Bibliographic Info: Ness, P. (2011). A monster calls. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.

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