A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Jim Kay
Publisher: Walker Boots
ISBN13: 9781406311525
Pages: 216
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism


The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.


A Monster Calls is one those rare titles that I feel awkward slapping a “YA” label on. So I have opted to simply leave it under Fantasy and magical Realism for the time. I would easily read this to my own children or recommend it to a coworker.

If I had to describe A Monster Calls with one word, it would be eloquent. I was not prepared for what happened as I read the story of Conor and his journey to uncover his own truth as he dealt with his mother’s battle against cancer. Struggling with recurring nightmares, Conor is visited by a monster who will share three tales with him. He only asks one thing in return. He asks that our young protagonist share his own story. But is Conor prepared to give up the one thing that will force him to acknowledge the truth?

“He didn’t want to go and look. But at the same time, a part of him wanted to look more than anything.”
-Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This is an emotional trifecta that takes the reader deep inside of the human heart, exposing the reality behind love, fear, and anger. We are given an unusual glimpse of humanity at its raw core through the eyes of a young boy and his monster. But sometimes the monster is not always what we perceive. Sometimes nightmares conceal a reality we must eventually face.

Exquisite storytelling accompanied by extraordinary illustration weave together a tale of beautiful tragedy and healing. Powerful and resonating, there is a lesson here for all. We are presented with a harsh reality of life and death and what it means to grieve and accept. When faced with fear and loss, we often turn to anger. But underneath the surface there is a very human desire to be seen, to be heard, and above all to heal. Sometimes finding the courage to acknowledge those needs can be the hardest part of the process.

If you speak the truth, the monster whispered in his ear, you will be able to face whatever comes.
― Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This is a voyage deep into the human heart and mind exploring an area they we do not often openly discuss. It is an emotionally charged experience that left me feeling tearful yet serene.  A Monster Calls is best left for the reader to explore on their own accord, as there is a fundamental truth and knowledge to be gained the has been presented in an unparalleled fashion. This is a recommended read for all.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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79 thoughts on “A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. One of my favorite books. And I agree, it does feel awkward calling this YA. The writing and themes are universal, but to me, it seems like this book was written more for adults than for children.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. YAY!!! I’m so glad you loved it as much as I did!

    I allowed my daughter to read this, and she’s 13. I do wonder how much of the story she grasped, since it deals with emotions on such a deep level. I think she understood the ‘truth’, yet wanted to be believe in the reality of the Monster too.

    I’m doing a post where we discuss the book and movie, and I curious to see how she’ll answer some of the questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I think that this is definitely an appropriate read for all, but you are pretty spot on. It is hard to gage exactly how much some younger children may take from this. I can see my children wanting to hold on to the magical aspects as well. I am looking forward to your post. I cried a lot with this, so I am not sure I want to see it in a theater. On the fence..


      1. Maybe give it a bit of time before you watch it in the movie. It is very sad, and something about seeing it on screen affected me even harder. I just hate to think people will miss out on the cinematography. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful review ❤ I'd actually been considering reading 'A Monster Calls' and you've turned my "Hmm maybe I'll read that." into a "Hell yeah, definitely need to read this." I saw it on sale in my local supermarket so I think I'll be stopping by there tomorrow!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Every time I see a review of this book I want to read it soooo bad and then I forget about it some how. I need to just go and buy it so it’s at home and it can stare at me on my book shelf. I really like the way you described it, great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I only watched the film, and although it was way too dramatic for my taste (I felt like they were shouting: CRY CRY CRY haha), I did like the stories and the meanings behind them!!! So glad you loved this 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I did! There is quite a bit of shouting and crying. he is rather young to be facing what he is. It felt appropriate in the story, but I cannot compare to the film. I am waiting to watch it at home I think. I do not want to boo hoo in the theatre 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One of my all time favorite books too, I also gave it 5 stars! I catalogue it under YA though because if I had heard of it as being fantasy, I would never have read it, and missed out on something amazing! You worded everything so well and really captured its essence, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There does seem to be a lot of uncertainty regarding the intended audience. I discovered B&N and several retailers had it marketed in the YA range, which felt off. I agree that this is a fantastic title that tackles a difficult topic in a wonderful way. I am thrilled to see the film bringing it further into the light 🙂


  7. Every time I read a review for this I want to drop everything and read it. I swear it’s been on my TBR for so long and I want to get to it before I see the movie. I saw the trailer for the movie while seeing another movie and nearly cried from just that so I’d imagine the book is going to rip my heart out. Even though this is on my list for this year I’m so going to have to move it up my TBR soon. Great review as always, Danielle! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m quite glad to hear that you finished this book in awe and total admiration. I absolutely adored this story. It had all my emotions within the grasp of its hands. Patrick Ness is a wizard with words and definitely shows you why in this one. Is this the first time you’ve read anything by him? I actually have a hard time recommending this book to people cause it’s success rate in breaking people down is insanely high. But to hell with that. Everyone needs to experience this for themselves! 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bahahahh I haven’t read all his books, but The Knife of Never Letting Go is another one of his biggest hits. Some people find it hard to connect with cause of the narration (you’ll find out why for yourself when you get around to it), but I still found the overall story quite thrilling! 😀 A Monster Calls remains at the top of his books for now though.

        – Lashaan

        Liked by 1 person

                  1. You are so wonderful! You made my day! I’m going to take it to Schuyler’s on Feb 13 and have Garber sign it!! ::does a happy dance and dies of happiness::
                    You have no idea how many contests I entered for that book!!

                    Liked by 1 person

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