A few weeks ago I was perusing the school library for something short to read. Being in AP English I have precious little time to read for fun as most of my time is monopolized by Shakespeare, Hawthorne, and Dickens, so as I was browsing through the books, a friend of mine pointed to a slim little tome at eye-level and said “oooh, that one, that one’s really good.”
I picked up the book and scanned it, 200 pages, including illustrations, this definitely seemed do-able. As I checked the book out, one the librarians cast me a searching look. “This is a good one,” she said. “But make sure you read it in daylight.”
Not really sure what this meant, I stuffed the book in my backpack and began it that night.
I’m not really sure what I expected, if I had any expectations at all, but that book surpassed all of them. As I sat in the library the next day, reading over the last paragraph, tears formed in my eyes. I put the book in the dropbox at the library counter and the same librarian as before noticed me and smiled. “Finished it?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I really don’t know how to feel.”
“Neither did I,” she said.
My favorite line from the book:
“Stories are wild creatures” said the monster “when you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”
And my, this is certainly true.
The plot synopsis on Barnes and Noble simply reads:
“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.”
Told in a slightly whimsical fashion of story-telling I really liked the voice and the illustrations in the book served well to draw emphasis to the story and mood. Despite the whimsy, this book does deal with some weighty matters of life and death and letting go; it drew some tears from me on more than one occasion, however it’s still a book I highly recommend for those looking for a quick but profound read. While the book is classified as young adult, it’s really one that would speak to all ages. Patrick Ness packs some really clever lines and some really insightful themes into a book of merely 200 pages.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, a book well worth reading, just make sure you have some tissues nearby.