A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Published: 7th May 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 240


Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.


Conor, a young school boy, awakens at 12:07am to discover a monster in his back garden. Over a handful of evenings, they begin talking to one another and soon enough, the monster starts to tell Conor three stories. They aren’t about learning valuable life lessons, they’re tales of how the yew tree helped people and perhaps, it’ll be able to help the boy.

“What happened in the nightmare was something no else ever needed to know.” 

Aside from the monster, Conor’s private life is shaken up when his Mum is taken ill with Cancer. Despite the promise that she’ll be ok, his Grandma and Dad quickly make a reappearance in his life and try to change his world. There is a great deal of heartbreak and sorrow throughout this particular plot line and it allowed the reader to have an emotional connection with Conor. At school, the young boy deals with a bully on a daily basis: always feeling invisible, always taking the punch and allowing his only friend, Lily to take the punishment.

“Then he noticed. The hour and minute hands had stopped at a specific time: 12:07.”

It is when the monster reacts with Conor that the anger within the boy is really stirred up: he breaks the antique clock and completely ruins his Grandma’s living room and before realises what he’s doing, he’s put the bully in hospital. The monster isn’t there to make a mess, it’s there to help Conor and Patrick Ness wrote their relationship so beautifully. Towards the end of the narrative when the young boy’s life became tough, the monster was there for him, as a companion and someone who helped Conor face up to his biggest fear: letting his Mum go. It was a remarkable book, one which everyone ought to read before they see the film.

“You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”


3 thoughts on “A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. Great review. I really enjoyed this book. It was the first book I read by Patrick Ness. I just finished reading another book by him. He’s a great author.

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