Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

It’s official: A Monster Calls is hands down the saddest book I have EVER read.


It’s official: A Monster Calls is hands down the saddest book I have EVER read.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Favorite quote: “There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

I would consider myself only a moderate book-crier, but I had watery eyes the entire time and by the end I had tears literally streaming down my face. I can’t remember the last time a book made me full-on cry. It probably didn’t help that I read the entire thing in one sitting in the middle of the night, but that’s beside the point.

The story follows a boy named Conor whose mother has cancer. He has nightmares every night, he is being bullied at school and struggling with the absence of his father (who is a very bad parent, by the way). Soon, something mysterious and quite creepy begins to happen: every night at 12:07 exactly, a monster appears outside Conor’s window. Conor is terrified at first, and tries to convince himself that the monster is simply an extension of his recurring nightmare. But the monster continues to show up and gives Conor an intriguing ultimatum: he will tell Conor three stories, and then Conor must tell his own story- the truth.

I loved this book for so many reasons. It is SO EMOTIONAL. I usually hate fantasy (maybe I should give it another chance?) but this one was beautifully written. Each of the monster’s fairy-tale-esque stories had a profound lesson, and the overall meaning that is revealed at the end…. oh my goodness. I’m still upset. I also loved the ambiguity of the monster: this book can be read as actual fantasy, i.e. it’s a real monster visiting Conor every night, or the monster can be viewed as simply a metaphorical embodiment of the “ugly truth”- that Conor’s mom isn’t going to get better.

I also am sad that I read this on my Kindle because I didn’t get to appreciate the full illustrations, which are gorgeous. I loved the writing too much to pick a single favorite quote.

Well, this was a super long review… if you made it through the whole thing consider following my blog for more reviews like this (shameless self promo here) Thanks for reading!