A Monster Calls - A 2012 Teens' Top Ten Nominee
May 25, 2012
Thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley doesn’t believe in monsters, but he is certainly being plagued by them. When the enormous yew tree from a neighboring churchyard stretches to life, stalks to Conor’s bedroom window, and calls to him at just past midnight, Conor finds himself confused but not nearly as terrified as the monster expects him to be. Because there’s nothing frightening about a yew tree, even when it’s breaking through walls and shattering windows and threatening to devour you, when compared to the Nightmare monster that haunts Conor every night when he goes to sleep.
A Monster Calls is a novel that was first conceived by author Siobhan Dowd but ultimately written by Patrick Ness. As he says in the introduction to this book, Siobhan "had the characters, a detailed premise, and a beginning. What she didn’t have, unfortunately, was time." Siobhan Dowd died of breast cancer in 2007, and Patrick Ness was asked to complete the project she had begun. What grew from her ideas and his writing is a fantastical, dark, raw, and honest look at how a teenage boy deals with his fear of loss and grief. It is a book about stories and truths, about terror and denial and healing.
Erin’s Bonus Features for A Monster Calls
Genre: magical realism
Song: “Put Your Lights On” by Santana ft. Everlast
Readalikes: Clay by David Almond; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This blog is part of a series on YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten 2012 nominees. Voting for TTT starts in August; more information can be found here.