Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

monstercallsBook Title/Author: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Publisher/Year: Published March 2013  (first published 2011)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Fiction, Paranormal
Series: N/A
Format: Softcover
Source: Owned

View on Goodreads


“At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.” (Goodreads)




I have heard nothing but praise for this book.  It has collected many awards: Goodreads Choice 2014 winner, Seiun Award for Best Novel (2015), John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel (2015), ALA Alex Award (2015),Japanese Booksellers Award Nominee for Translated Fiction (2015) and Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2016).  However, I just don’t get the hype.  The story line had promise and I was intrigued, but the delivery was not to my liking.

I do not want to say much about this book; it is best if you go in somewhat blind.

But here is what I will say:

  • I was expecting an eerie/creepy/Tim Burton-type of story — this is not that kind of story. It is hard to explain what type of book this is; I have never read something like this before.
  • A Monster Calls deals with themes of: death, illness, guilt, grief, and loss, and the difficulties of saying our final goodbyes to loved ones, read if you’re in the mood for a somber, dark, tear jerking, pulls on your heart-strings type of mood.
  • I would not recommend purchasing this as an audiobook because then you’d miss out on the beautiful, yet dark and haunting, illustrations. I am not rejecting the audiobook, for I did not use the audiobook; however, I cannot image the story as being as impactful as it was without the images, so go with the paper copy.
  • I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. It has been a long time since I have experienced a connection with a book like this one. The book is beautifully and creatively written, equally as stunning illustrations, and is difficult to put down. It could easily be read in one sitting, however I couldn’t because I needed to put it down and have a break otherwise I would have cried.


“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.

You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all.


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