This one packs a wallop in a short amount of time.
I have been lucky that, even as an adult, I don’t have a lot of experience watching a loved one suffer for a long time from cancer or any other illness. In a Monster Calls thirteen year old Conor O’Malley, unfortunately, doesn’t have that blessing; his mother has been suffering from some form of cancer for an indeterminate amount of time. His grandmother comes to visit because it has been decided, since Conor’s father lives in America with his new family, Conor will go live with her when it is time…
Following weeks of nightmares Conor is visited by a monster, in the form of a yew tree, at 12:07 who claims Conor has called for him. The yew tree says he will tell Conor three stories that are the truth and then Conor must tell him a story or the monster will eat him. At first Conor thinks he is dreaming but he discovers yew tree needles all over his room in the morning.
At 12:07 the moster comes again and tells him a story about a kingdom, their power hungry queen and a prince who is love with a farmer’s daughter. The ending is not what Conor expected. Again at 12:07 Conor is visited for his second story and the monster also helps him destroy his grandmother’s living room.
“It’s okay that you’re angry, I’m angry too, and if you need to break things, by God you break them.”
During the day Conor experiences bullying from his classmates about his family’s situation and he grows increasingly angry. With the monster’s help, during the third story, Conor beats up his bully. And then, the monster come for Conor’s truth.
This books deals with the grief, sadness and anger anyone feels when they are helplessly watching a loved one suffer. The artist, Jim Kay, does beautiful work helping Patrick Ness flesh out Siobhan Dowd’s original idea.