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A Monster Calls Ness, Patrick ( Author ) Sep-15-2011 Hardcover Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 15 Sep 2011
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA) (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Z3793S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,181,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have experienced equal quantities of dread and delight whilst anticipating A Monster Calls, a novel which is the joint venture of two highly acclaimed authors of YA fiction. I've been dreading it as it will be my last experience of the wonderful writing of Siobhan Dowd who died in 2007 aged 47. Siobhan was the author of four brilliant novels, two of which were published posthumously and she had penned some notes for a new book which culiminated in Patrick Ness taking the baton and producing the thing of beauty which is A Monster Calls.

So was it to be a Dowd or a Ness novel, whose influence would be felt the most? To tell the truth, it's different from anything either author has produced before. Yes, I felt Siobhan's touch at times but this really feels like a one-off, an original masterpiece. In just over 200 pages, Patrick Ness weaves the tale of Conor O'Malley, a 13 year old only child who has a battle on his hands. His single mother is nearing the end of her fight with cancer and Conor has a well meaning grandmother whose good intentions only end up estranging him further. His father has remarried, now living in the US and is in the clutches of a jealous new wife complete with new baby and he hardly wants the added troubles of his teenage son. Meanwhile, at school, the only people who really notice Conor are the bullies - everyone else is busily tip-toeing around the elephant in the room/playground. If that wasn't enough, a monster comes a-calling, in the shape of a yew tree - yew trees are symbolic of everlasting life and healing but this particular specimen doesn't seem very friendly.

This is one of the most powerful, compelling books I have ever read.
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By Bookinda VINE VOICE on 24 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is stunning, from the very first peak of it right through to the last word. Even pulling away the postage packaging left me awestruck at this beautiful book, with it's atmospheric hard covering and illustrations. Reading it is no let down either and while a short story at just over 200 pages, every single word made an impact and by the time I'd finished the last page I was an emotional mess.

A Monster Calls is based on an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd. Having never read anything by either Dowd or Ness before (something I have now sworn to resolve) I had no preconceptions about the book at all, nor any idea what it was about. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got. A dark, heart breaking tale of grief and loss, entwined with ancient mythology and a journey of facing the truth as well as your fears. It's powerful, stunning, achingly sad and genuinely spooky, because the monster in this story is one we could all face.

Reviewing this book is difficult, because I really don't want to give anything away, not even a small detail for fear of taking away from someone else the experience I had while reading it. I can just urge you all to add it to your wishlist, pick it up from the library, anyone from age 10-100...just get hold of a copy. Recommended a million times over.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are not aware about how this book came to be, then please keep reading. The original idea for the story belonged to Siobhan Dowd, who died of cancer in 2007, her premature death prevented her from finishing the book. This would have been her fifth book and she left behind the characters, the idea behind the story and the beginning of it. The story was handed over to Patrick Ness to complete.

I have yet to read any of Siobhan Dowd's books, so I cannot compare the story to her style of writing; having said that Patrick Ness has stated that he did not write the book attempting to mimick her voice. He took her legacy and wrote it in his own unique style.

I was one of those readers who absolutely loved The Chaos Walking Trilogy and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. My initial response was amazement as it really is a thing of beauty. The cover, the design and the drawings created by Jim Kay, just bring this book into a complete category of its own. I cannot stop staring at it. All the illustrations are in black and white and they just add to the haunting nature of the book.

The story itself is an unbelievable roller coaster of feelings that rips your heart out and leaves you emotionally in tatters by the end. Never has a story affected me so much that I still want to cry over it two weeks after reading it. I am not sure if I am happy with Patrick Ness's ability to make me cry so often. This is the second time he has written a book that has left me as a blubbering wreck. ( Manchee! I say no more!). He is just an amazing author whose words leave me speechless.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first saw the book in Waterstones it was the cover that immediately drew me in. A dark charcoal black sketch of a creature approaching an isolated house under an oppressive night sky. Whatever story that inspired such a vision had to be worth it. But the eye candy, dour as it may be, does not end there as there are dozens of atmospheric sketches throughout the pages, all of them by illustrator Jim Kay, which really enhance the otherworldly tone of the story.

Conor O'Malley is a young teen who is struggling to cop with bullying at school, deliberately alienating his female best friend, and believing that his dying mother will get better. Out of the shadows comes the monster, a giant being who takes the form of a yew tree on the hill beyond Conor's bedroom window. At first the monster seems threatening but there is a purpose behind his menace which Conor must understand after putting aside his anger and despair.

Published two years after the death of Siobhan Dowd, the original author, this novel was completed by Patrick Ness who assembled it from her notes and outline. It's unclear what is her original work and what Ness has conjured up to fill in the gaps but the metaphysical angle is mildly disappointing. After plowing through so many of Tim Bowler's metaphysical stories about troubled teens I was hoping for something a bit more literal - yes monsters can be literal too. In the end the impact of the story is none the worse for it and the ending is just as hard-hitting as it was intended to be.

There are many reasons to check out A Monster Calls - the artwork, the story, the story behind the story, it's unusual journey from conception to the print. Even if this type of fiction is normally outside of your interests I fully recommend this novel to everyone.
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