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A Monster Calls
Cover of A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls
Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
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NOW A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor, featuring stunning artwork by Jim...
NOW A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor, featuring stunning artwork by Jim...
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Description-

  • NOW A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor, featuring stunning artwork by Jim Kay.

    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.

 

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About the Author-

  • I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia. But I only stayed there for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. Since then, I've lived in Hawaii, Washington, California, and England.

    I've only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel when I moved to London in 1999. I've lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was. I write for one of the U.K. national papers, and I've also been writer in residence for Booktrust. Anything and everything to do with writing, that's how I want to make my life.


    I made up stories all the time when I was young, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody. That's okay if you do that; when you're ready, you're ready. The important thing is to keep writing.

    For young adults, I've written A Monster Calls, More Than This, and the Chaos Walking trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men. I've also written two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title that seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later.

    Here's a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I'm working on a first draft, all I write is 1,000 words a day, which isn't that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1,000 easy). And if I write my 1,000 words, I'm done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it's possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That's the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.

    Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

    1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.

    2. I've run three marathons.

    3. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books benboy - I am a student in middle school that is an avid reader, I have wrote reviews before and am very qualified to write this review. With every turn of the page of A Monster Calls by, Patrick Ness, you dive deeper and deeper into a suspenseful plot, you will not be able to set down this book. Patrick Ness went to the University of Southern California, some of his other books, include A Knife Of Never Letting Go, as well as More Than This. My opinion of A Monster Calls is that it is one of the best fantasy books I have read, the only complaint about this book I would have, is that in some parts of the book, it was lacking some action. Overall I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. A Monster Calls is about a boy named Conor whose mom is dying of cancer, and Conor keeps having a reoccurring nightmare. When he has the dream, he wakes up every time at 12:07 A.M. When he wakes up one night there is a monster in his backyard that is made out of a yew tree. The monster during the day is just a plain old yew tree in the cemetery behind Conor's house. The monster tells Conor three stories which lead up to an ending that finally tells you what you have been waiting for the entire book. An example in this book, that lead me to say that it was slow in some parts, was that in between stories, there were a lot of parts that I felt were unnecessary. Also, leading up to the first story I felt there was some nonsense. If I had to compare this to a book I have read, I couldn't, because it is completely off in its own awesome category. The type of person that would enjoy this book, would be someone that has a love for fantasy books, or someone that likes a sort of spooky story.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 20, 2011
    In his introduction to this profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale of unaccountable loss, Ness explains how he developed the story from a set of notes left by Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2007 before she had completed a first draft. "I felt—and feel—as if I've been handed a baton, like a particularly fine writer has given me her story and said, ‘Go. Run with it. Make trouble.' " What Ness has produced is a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations. Conor O'Malley is 13. His mother is being treated for cancer; his father, Liam, has remarried and lives in America; and Conor is left in the care of a grandmother who cares more for her antique wall clock than her grandson. This grim existence is compounded by bullies at school who make fun of his mother's baldness, and an actual nightmare that wakes Conor, screaming, on a recurring basis. Then comes the monster—part human, part arboreal—a hulking yew tree that walks to his window just after midnight and tells three inscrutable parables, each of which disappoints Conor because the good guy is continually wronged. "Many things that are true feel like a cheat," the monster explains. In return for the monster's stories, Conor must tell his own, and the monster demands it be true, forcing Conor, a good boy, a dutiful son, to face up to his feelings: rage and, worse still, fear. If one point of writing is to leave something that transcends human existence, Ness has pulled a fast one on the Grim Reaper, finishing the story death kept Dowd from giving us. It is a story that not only does honor to her memory, it tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2011

    Gr 7 Up-Conor O'Malley, 13, is having a difficult time. At school, he copes with bullying and loneliness. His father is living in America with his new family, and at home he has to contend with a recurring nightmare that torments him every night. His mother is seriously ill and undergoing painful cancer treatments. One night, he wakes up to a voice calling his name. An ancient, treelike monster, hovering over him like a sleeping giant, has come to tell him three stories. When the monster is done, he wishes for Conor to tell him a fourth tale, wanting the scariest thing of all-the truth. The wise monster's ambiguous tales contain unexpected outcomes and help demonstrate that not all stories have happy endings, but they can be more important than anything else if they carry the truth. Conor has to accept the truth about his mother's prognosis and letting go, even if it means losing her. Only then can he start to heal, without destroying himself in the process. This is an extraordinarily moving story inspired by an idea from author Siobhan Dowd before she passed away. Kay's shadowy illustrations slither along the borders of the pages and intermingle with text to help set its dark, mysterious mood, while Conor is often seen as a silhouette. A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.-Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 15, 2011

    From a premise left by author Siobhan Dowd before her untimely death, Ness has crafted a nuanced tale that draws on elements of classic horror stories to delve into the terrifying terrain of loss.

    When a monster in the form of an ancient yew tree crashes through his bedroom walls after midnight, calling his name, Conor is remarkably unperturbed--"Shout all you want," he says. "I've seen worse." Indeed he has, in a recurring nightmare of someone slipping from his grasp, a nightmare whose horror he keeps to himself. Daily life is intolerable, as everyone from teachers to bullies treats him as though he were invisible since his mother began chemotherapy. The monster tells Conor three stories before insisting that Conor tell one himself. Asserting that "stories are the wildest things of all," the monster opens the door for Conor to face the guilty truth behind his subconscious fears. Ness brilliantly captures Conor's horrifying emotional ride as his mother's inevitable death approaches. In an ideal pairing of text and illustration, the novel is liberally laced with Kay's evocatively textured pen-and-ink artwork, which surrounds the text, softly caressing it in quiet moments and in others rushing toward the viewer with a nightmarish intensity.

    A poignant tribute to the life and talent of Siobhan Dowd and an astonishing exploration of fear. (Fiction. 11-14)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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