Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster showed up just 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…

The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel of coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.



Some stories you find you don’t have the words to express how you feel, explain what the story is, or comment on what it all means. A Monster Calls was not what I was expecting. My expectations, after hearing and seeing how others reacted, was to have my mind blown by something utterly fantastic.

My expectations weren’t met, and yet they were. All along I was waiting to fall completely into the story, I was waiting for something to hit me, I was waiting for this ‘thing’ until the very end, and while it never arrived, I feel sated.

A Monster Calls is not happy reading, but it delves into a subject that should be spoken aloud and rarely is. It delves into this subject in an easy to read way, but ends up being gripping, absorbing, and hauntingly unforgettable. The subject matter, the way the story unfolds, lends itself to a great deal of melancholy, but you can’t help being carried along with it.

I’m depressed, but enlightened, and find myself wanting to read A Monster Calls again. Not a year after, not a month, not even a day, but within five minutes of finishing it. I love the characters, I love their authenticity and I love the wisdom of the monster. This is an easy read, but a hard subject, and I would recommend it for adults and teens alike.

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One thought on “Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. Hmm, I kind of felt the same way about the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. They were beautifully-written, engaging, terrifying, and utterly depressing. It seems as though Ness has a way with toying with readers’ emotions like that – in a good, thought-provoking way.


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