This coming Sunday is National Friendship Day, and I figured the best way to celebrate was by highlighting the library challenge of reading a book a friend recommended. One of my dear friends, Whitney, told me a few weeks ago that I really needed to read Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls. She also warned me that it deserved an honorary mention for books that will make you cry. I’m so glad she suggested this book to me because it’s a wonderful read. (Thanks again for the great recommendation, Whitney!)
The author, Patrick Ness, wrote the book based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who died before she could tell this story. In it, we meet Conor, a young English boy who lives with his mother, who is suffering from cancer. In his dreams, Conor repeatedly has nightmares about a monster, but that’s not the monster who comes to visit him one night. And this monster has something to offer him, but it wants something from him in return.
I don’t want to talk too much more about the plot because I don’t want to give too much away, but what I really enjoyed about the book was how unique and complex it was. I’ve read my fair share of books that are tearjerkers, and I honestly have a low tolerance for anything I consider manipulative or sappy. So, I was pleased that this book steers clear of that. It is lovely and heartbreaking, but it never feels forced or manipulative. Also, A Monster Calls isn’t a graphic novel, but it is illustrated. And as much as I loved the story, I also really enjoyed Jim Kay’s artwork. It’s mysterious, haunting, and visually stunning.
Technically, this book is categorized as young adult fiction, but I think its appeal transcends age and classifications. It’s just as meaningful and affecting a story for adults as it is for teens.The film adaptation of the book–starring Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, and Sigourney Weaver–is also being released this October, so you should definitely read the book in time for the movie. (Watch the trailer here.)
If you’re interested in learning more about this book or would like to check availability and place a hold for it, just visit our online library catalog.
Recommended for those who enjoy Brenna Yovanoff’s work, Tom McNeal’s Far Far Away, Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor, and Neal Shusterman’s Bruiser.
Have you read A Monster Calls? What book recommended by a friend did you read this year? Tell us in the comments!