Ness, Patrick and Kay, Jim. A Monster Calls. 215 p. Candlewick. 2011. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN 9781406311525.
One of the most buzzed-about books this Fall has been A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. As soon as my library's copy came across my desk, I was compelled to read it. Inspired by an idea by author Siobhan Dowd before she passed away after a battle with cancer, it's a story about a boy whose mother is very ill. In the midst of his attempts at coping with the inevitable, he is visited by a monster, who wants to tell him three stories in exchange for one story of his.
I can't properly review A Monster Calls. It sort of left me dumbfounded. In a good way. In a good, crying-my-eyes-out kind of way.
So I'm just going to say: read it. If you're in the right place for it, that is. It's at once healing and heartwrenching, and you have to be ready for that. It could be cathartic or completely devastating.
This book is a quick read because it's so intense and hard to put aside. It's not an easy read, but a worthwhile one. The thoughtfully crafted prose is complemented by bold, messy black and white illustrations that add another dimension to an already-powerful story. It's the kind of book that stays with you a while after you turn the last page.