www.whyville.net Mar 23, 2014 Weekly Issue

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Book Review: A Monster Calls

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We all have a monster; something inside our mind that haunts us. The monster is relentless, controlling, brutally honest, and seems to be everywhere - or at least that's how the monster was for Conor. He comes at night, seven minutes past midnight to be exact, and calls out for the one person who called him to come walking. Conor called this monster? Who would willingly call a monster to visit them; to torture their mind for the truth - because that's what this monster wants: the truth? But Conor refuses to give it; he doesn't even know what it is. And he isn't afraid of this monster, how could he ever be afraid of a giant walking tree when he has so much more to face in his life? But as I said before, this monster is relentless and will stop at nothing for Conor's truth.

"A Monster Calls" is a story like no other. This book is actually the first book to win both the Carnegie Medal for literature and the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration - that's right, there are some amazingly drawn pictures within this novel! The story is recommended for ages 12 and up, so I find it very fitting to write about for Whyville. The story is only about 203 pages, with some of that being pictures, but I found it to be so moving with very little words.

Conor is a boy dealing with bullies, lost friends, a mother with cancer, a father who left and started a new family without him, and a grandmother who never sees eye-to-eye with him. Conor struggles with a lot of the things most of us do, and he has no idea how to deal with all the news he's been given. Conor wants hope, but hope is hard to find. Conor wants to be punished, but people tend to treat you different when your mother is ill. Conor just wants to be noticed for the person he is. This monster who visits him is scary but not to Conor. Conor is facing a struggle boys his age shouldn't have to face, and this monster may just be the only thing keeping him sane - how crazy is that?

I laughed with Conor, I cried with Conor, I yelled at Conor, and I sighed with Conor when the troubles stacked up. Conor's story moved me, and now I want you guys to check it out so it can move you, too.

I would say more, but I really don't want to give anything away. So below are my favorite quotes from the text that I feel won't take away from the storyline if you read through them now. Enjoy, and please try and read it; you'll learn so much!

"Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?"

"Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both."

"Who cares even if I didn't?!" Conor shouted back. "They're just stupid berries. Woo-hoo, so scary. Oh, please, please, save me from the berries!"

"The monster looked at him quizzically. How strange, it said. The words you say tell me you are scared of the berries, but your actions seem to suggest otherwise."

"You think I tell you stories to teach you lessons? the monster said. You think I have coming walking out of time and earth itself to teach you a lesson in niceness?"

"And here was a man who lived on belief, but who sacrificed it at the first challenge, right when he needed it most"

- Patrick Ness, "A Monster Calls"

And to end this book review with an amazing quote from Patrick Ness: "Stories don't end with the writers, however many started the race."


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