Patrick Ness' 'A Monster Calls' proves you're never too old for monster tales

Published: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 8:23 AM on
By Ann Marie Martin
Patrick Ness gives fair warning:
“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”
British writer Ness wreaks havoc that rips a heart apart and makes an imagination soar in his 2011 young adult novel, “A Monster Calls.”
I discovered the book in the collection of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library’s youth services department, where myriad marvelous stories roam wild. I love this book so much that I had to buy a copy for my personal library.

Thirteen-year-old Conor tells himself he’s too old for monsters, but since his mother got sick, he keeps facing the same one in the same nightmare. One night, waking from the nightmare, he meets a new monster, the old yew tree on the hill behind his house come to raucous life.
This monster doesn’t terrify Conor like the other one – but not from lack of trying:
“A great arm swung down and snatched Conor up in it, lifting him high in the air, the wind whirling around them, making the monster’s leafy skin wave angrily.”
The monster proclaims: “I am this wild earth, come for you, Conor O’Malley.”


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