Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: A Monster Calls

Book: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: N/A
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 215
Source: bookstore
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | The Book Depository | Chapters
Stars: 5/5 (PERFECTION )
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

(summary taken from Goodreads

I never thought a picture book would make it onto my favourites list... but I was proved wrong a million times over by this story!

A Monster Calls is brilliant to say the least. As much as I claim to be an avid reader, I don't think a book has ever affected me as much as this one did. It stole my heart, broke it, and mended it all in the span of 215 beautiful pages. It's one of those books that change you deep inside and make you realize things that make you see things that make you...cry.  

My heart breaks for Conor. His mother is dying and he's being picked on at school. But he's probably the strongest, most brilliantly honest character ever. I cried for him just as much as I cried for everyone else who has to go through what he does.
“Stories don't always have happy endings."

This stopped him. Because they didn't, did they? That's one thing the monster had definitely taught him.
This book deals with cancer in its truest form. I couldn't help but be amazed at how perfectly, flawlessly, and beautifully Patrick Ness handled everything. From the way everyone treated Conor differently even though he just wished they'd stop with the pity, to the way it's impossible to know how to feel when someone you love it dying... It was truly genius. 

I cried SO MUCH when I read this book for the first time; I still cry whenever I read it again. And I'll re-read this when the best person I know dies and I'm sure I'll be bawling after that as well. A Monster Calls may be about cancer, but it's also about love, and loss, and grief, and pain. It's about nightmares trying to tell you something other than to be afraid. 

With a heartwrenchingly true storyline, darkly beautiful illustrations, and prose that tops even the best of writers, A Monster Calls is honestly perfection in its purest form. It's one of the most touching and heartbreaking books I've ever read, and I'd recommend it to absolutely everyone especially if you know someone with cancer like I do.

BUY or BORROW?: Please, please, PLEASE skip the borrow and go straight for the buy with this book! And don't buy the e-book because then you don't get to see all the beautiful illustrations. The gorgeous hardback is the only way to go!  



  1. I have been on the fence about whether or not I should read this book Mimi, but your review is SO convincing I'm going to check out a copy from the library when I go tomorrow [I'd buy it, but I'm broke, unfortunately =(]. I had no idea that this was a cancer book, and also had no idea that it was a more emotional read. I've read the author's other series- the Chaos Walking trilogy, and that was SO good. The last book broke my heart, and I am assuming that this one will as well.

    I'm so glad that you loved this one Mimi! I will definitely grab this from the library when I go tomorrow and read it ASAP. Thanks for the fabulous and totally convincing review! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  2. MIMI,

    Sometimes I think you're a genius. I bought this book (LOVED this book) before when I saw your five stars on Goodreads and have been waiting for your review every since. And it. was. brilliant!! I bawl my eyes out every time I read this book, too, and I've never even known anyone with cancer. It's just THAT kind of book for ANY kind of reader! *sobs*

    So thank you so much for getting me to buy this book when I didn't think I would, Mimi-Doll! <333333 (:

    Love, Kay

  3. Oh wow... A cancer book and a picture book? I would have never ever picked this book up in a million years! But you are so head over heels that I must reconsider!

  4. Wow, Mimi, what a stunningly honest and beautiful review! :') I got tears in my eyes just from reading what you had to say about this book. I think everyone who knows someone who has Cancer understands what it's really like, and that makes them (well, us) feel like bawling our eyes out every time we read a book like this?? :P Before reading your review I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this, but after reading your amazing thoughts on this book, I just KNOW that there's no way I'm going to be able to walk past this book in the library and not be able to pick it up. But I'm SO scared! Someone really close to me died of Lung Cancer, and, knowing firsthand what he went through, I'm not sure if I'll survive this heartwrencher of a book... Because Of Anya is a stark and horribly wonderful MG book about a girl's life with cancer, and I read it at the age of 11. I finished two whole boxes of tissues, if you can believe it!! O.o

    Thank you so much for this lovely review, Mimi-doll!! You rock!! And I love how thoughtful and enthusiastic and brilliant all your reviews always are. I'm definitely going to have to pick this one up ASAP. <33333

  5. My attention was grabbed when I saw the length-could such a short book really be so powerful? Well you have convinced me Mimi! I'm especially interested as I have really grown to appreciate pictures in books and how much they can add to a story.

  6. At first, when I saw the "picture book," I was like "mehh... maybe not" but then I saw the actual picture and I was like AASDFHALJFADJFAL!!! I WANT THIS BOOK! I seriously need to crawl out of whatever rock I'm living under and go out and get this book because it sounds phenomenal! I absolutely love it when a book just tugs at your heartstrings and makes you cry--I mean, it hurts, but in a good way.
    Fabulous review (as always!) Mimi! I can't wait to read this book!

  7. Sounds like a read that knocks your socks off.

  8. Gosh the pictures in this book are terrifying. Sometimes children's books can say so much more than anything a full length novel can say. The secret is in the simplicity. You don't notice how much it affects you until you're crying. I'm going to go an get this book right now.

  9. I would never have read this by myself, without some kind of push, ever. I think your review just acted as that push. Beautiful, Mims! :)

  10. I have heard nothing but praise for this book so it's already on my wishlist. I can't remember the last picture book I picked up, but if I'm ever going for one again, it will be this one. It sounds like a very emotional read! I'm glad you were so blown by it, Mimi. Thanks for the beautiful and persuasive review! :)

  11. I've read so many 5 star reviews of this book, but I'm ashamed to say I still haven't picked this book up! It's been sitting there glaring at me on my shelf, I think I'm a little scared of picking it up as so many others have loved it so much, also it sounds like such a heartbreaking read. I promise I will get to it one day! Lovely review Mimi :)

  12. Mimi, thank you so much for this review. If I hadn't read this review, then I wouldn't even consider reading this book but now I definitely am! Watching how Conor and the people around him deal with grief is going to be a gut-wrenching read and just reading your review really helped me understand what the atmosphere and tone of this book will be like.

  13. "A Monster Calls may be about cancer, but it's also about love, and loss, and grief, and pain. It's about nightmares trying to tell you something other than to be afraid." I cried while reading this book too! I'm really sorry about your dad. I hope that he could read your review and know how much cancer has affected you because of it.

    Fantastic review Mimi =)

  14. WOW Mimi. Just...WOW. You truly loved this!!! Can you believe when this came out last year, I didn't even give it a second glance? I thought "it's a PICTURE BOOK", therefore, I won't read it. How wrong I was! Seriously, THIS REVIEW IS PERFECTION! I swear, I'm about to cry just from reading your review :S (And that's NOT a good thing since I'm attempting to study :S) BUT SERIOUSLY, I LOVEEEEE THIS REVIEW, MIMIIIII! You bet I'll be getting myself a copy of this ASAP! :DDDD

  15. I love that cover ! It's so creepy, but at the same time really alluring !
    It's a picture book ! Who wouldn't want to read a picture book ?
    Ah !! I need to get a copy of this for myself. :)
    It's so great that the book evoked so much emotion from you. That just shows how fantastic the book is.
    Lovely review, Mimi. :)

  16. This sounds a really good book. It is interesting that a picture has tough issues in it, like cancer and dying. It sounds like it is a sad book. I don't really read picture books anymore, but I pick this one up. Great review, Mimi!

  17. I had no idea this one was about cancer! I think I will definitely be picking up a copy! I will be starting the 3rd book in the author's Chaos Walking series tomorrow and I am so in love with those books that I just know I will love this too. Great review, Mimi! :)

  18. Wow Mimi! This sounds just amazing. I'm not sure what it says about me that I love to cry when I'm reading, but I do. Or rather I love being so involved in a story that I can't help but cry. That's probably a better way to say it:) I need to make time for this one for sure, based on the cover I probably would never have picked it up, but since you and I have such similar taste, I know I'll like it!

  19. Wow, this sounds amazing! I neeeed to read this. Thanks for this great review, you've definitely persuaded me to give this a go :)
    PS. I'm a new follower, I love your blog! Your design is really pretty. :)
    Zoe xx

  20. Mimi, there you go again - writing a beautiful, emotional review to make me feel a little tearful! I ADORE you for that <3

    I can't tell you how many times I've overlooked this book in the library - the cover didn't really catch my eye if I'm honest... But you've made me think again. I thought it would be some silly monster book - I never realised it dealt with cancer or that it would be heart-breaking :( My heart has already broken in two for Conor, I just wanna give him a big hug right now!

    I'm gonna have to check this one out, Mimi. If you say it's 'perfection in its purest form' I completely believe you since you're one of my best blogging friends and like you said, we have similar taste in books <3

  21. Hmmm. This is something I probably would have never picked up on my own. But I love the idea of this boy's nightmares speaking to him and possibly giving him a message other than what one usually expects of nightmares.

    Sounds like the MC has an emotional journey in this one and is dealing with a lot.

    This is the first time I've seen this book around, but I'll have to keep it in mind since it elicited such a strong emotional response from you. I love your passion for this one Mimi!

  22. Mimi, I read this last fall an egalley and reading your review reminded me that I need to buy a copy since as you said the ebook doesn't have the pictures. I know this is such a powerful book and it gets right in and brushes your soul. It was one of the first reviews I posted on my blog. I haven't read a bad review on this one yet. It is amazing!

  23. At first I wanted to read this book, but because a lot of people in my family died of cancer I'm not so sure. It is on my tbrlist and I'm sure I will read it one of these days..but still....it's just so emotional.

    BTW Great review!

  24. oh Mimi... you made me cry with your review. Unfortunately I havent read this book because, like you, it touches too close home. It's my mom, who I almost lose twice in a spam of two weeks less than six months ago.
    Thank you so much for your touching words. Im definitely getting this one. If you read, and will re-read it even after you experience the loss this book talks about by yourself, then I think I will defintiely do the same. I'll be strong as you :)

  25. Omg, Mimi! This sounds so BEAUTIFUL!<3 I don't even know what to write, that pretty much sums up everything I'm thinking! And I need to take a look at the pictures, too...

    Thank you for ANOTHER amazing review and adding ANOTHER book to my Wishlist.(':

  26. I LOVE picture books. I think a part of me will always love them. :) This one sounds like I should definitely add it to my to-read list!

  27. Wow, I think I need this now. I'd heard of it but I had not idea what it was about. Books with illustrations are wonderful and it sounds like it would be a beautiful addition to this story. I just lost someone in my life to cancer this past October, so I feel like this one will make me cry, but it just means it affected you and that's never a bad thing when it comes to books.


  28. If I wasn't convinced I had to get this book before, I sure as heck am now. Amazing, Stunning review, Mimi. The book sounds like it grasps hold of you and never lets you go, and though I'm a bit afraid of the raw emotion it evokes, it's the kind of story that seems well worth the tears.

  29. Oh, Mimi. I have tears in my eyes after reading your review. I had no idea this book dealt with cancer. I lost my Grandpa Tom and then my Grandma Jean within two years of each other, both to cancer. My grandpa we had some warning and time to spend with him, but we had just about two weeks with my grandma. So books that deal with cancer are SO HARD for me to read, but I may have to make an exception for this one. Also? ALL THE HUGE IN THE WORLD to you, sweet Mimi!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  30. Oh wow...O_O Your review was incredibly touching as well! I can really feel the emotions rolling off!!! To be honest, I've yet to read a good, non-artificial book based on cancer. This sounds like truly a captivating book that pulls it off real good, so I'm really excited to read it! One of my favourite reviews from you, Mimi, in the strong-emotions category! -holds tissue box like a shield- Ok! I'm ready!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  31. i know i know i know i need to get this . i know
    i will i will i will hoping soon
    sounds like a book everyone should read
    great review mimi

  32. Mimi, this is such a touching review <3 Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!

    I actually had NO idea this was about cancer. I've seen praise for Patrick Ness but never did I actually realize this was the subject the book was centred around. If the book is anything as brilliant as your review, I can see I'll be needing my tissue box.

    I'll definitely need to purchase a copy of this book so that I can re-read it and admire the illustrations. Amazing review as always, my favourite Tim Horton's employee x)


  33. I've heard such wonderful things about this book. And, though it's COMPLETELY different, I just finished Patrick Ness' The Knife of Never Letting Go - and loved it. Great review! I'll have to get a hold of this one soon. :)

  34. Oh Mimi, your review of this is absolutely perfect!! I actually bought a copy of A Monster Calls two weeks ago, and I'm so excited to begin reading it! It sounds so heart-wrenching, so moving and emotional that I must read it soon with a box of tissues in my hands. :) Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!

  35. This sounds like another amazing book!
    I heard about it a little while before I first heard you mention it- which I think you did a while ago in a post?- and I didn't think it sounded, from the brief synopsis, like a book I would like- but since you love it so much and wrote such a great review about it, I'm definitely going to give it a try!
    So... the next book I'm thinking of buying is Tiger Lily, because of your review, then Kill me Softly, because you loved it so much, and then this! Your reviews are not good for my savings- I want to buy everything! (:

  36. Oh, Mimi, wow... I'm with Sonia on this... it's an incredibly touching review for what sounds like a truly remarkable book. I bought this from BD back in March... and I think it may have been because you mentioned something, along with another blogger I really trust... I so need to pick it up and read it. It's BEAUTIFUL, huh? And I know it's a 'picture book', but it's surprising how much there is in it! AND THE ILLUSTRATIONS! SO BEAUTIFUL.

  37. This review is incredible. After reading the synopsis and your thoughts, I feel like there is a tight clamp on my heart. I will pick up this book and a box of tissues this weekend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  38. Okay, I'm sold. Again. By your review. Have I ever told you that you make me want to buy all books you review?

  39. Thank you so much for reviewing this! I have heard of it before, but didn't know if I would like it, but I bet those illustrations alone could win me over =D

  40. Oh wow. I know I have seen the cover but apparently I didn't know what it was really about. I will definitely watch for this one now!

  41. I've heard so many good things about this one. It sounds like a perfectly wonderful and heartbreaking tale. Poor Connor. Beautiful review Mimi.

  42. Like I already said on Goodreads, I'm going to pick this one up. Your review really touched me :)

  43. EEEEEE Mimi, I saw this book in the bookstore and absolutely regret that I didn't buy it! When I first saw the book, I thought it was about horror only but boy I did not know that it's about cancer and love. Oh I can feel your love for this book so much, Mimi! The illustrations look creepy but gorgeous!

    Such a beautiful review, Mimi! ♥

  44. Mimi, how did I miss this review?! I am so glad you love this book because it really is such a heartbreaking one. Patrick Ness is a GENIUS with words. This wasn't what I was expected and it was just so beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous review, Mimi!

  45. This one sounds SO GOOD! I don't know why I've always skipped over it. Something truly must be wrong with me. The illustrations in this book look gorgeous and I completely agree– don't buy the ebook! The hardback must be worth it for the illustrations alone :) I really should pick this one up and give it a try. If it made you cry, then wow, must be some powerful stuff! Love your review and thanks for visiting my blog back. It's great to know another teen book blogger, and a Canadian one at that! (I just moved from Toronto to Singapore :P) <3

  46. If it's got your beautiful mark of approval I'll definitley be buying this super soon! I almost brought a copy a month ago at a bookstore but it was a bit damaged... Don't worry, I'll get my grabby hands on a copy after I've cleared my shelf a little bit.

    LOVE your review :)

  47. I've been wanting to read this for a while, Mimi! I've seen it before in our bookstore and I'll definitely be buying this now. I hope it'll touch me the way it had touched you. Amazing review, Mimi! :)

  48. This book has been on my to-read list for ages, I think I might have to move it up! This is a great review and makes me want to read this book so much more than I already do! I will have to buy this book soon. :)

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