Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Monster Calls (and You Should Answer)

This is one of those books that renders me stupid with awe. I bought it on the twitter recommendation of Holly Black (whose taste in books I nearly always agree with, because she is brilliant), thinking it would make a good Halloween read. The illustrations reminded me of those old Scary Stories books I used to read in elementary school that scared the crap out of me.

Then I made the mistake of reading it while spending Sunday afternoon at my in-laws'. And folks, this is not a Scary Story book.

This is one of the most affecting, beautifully written, powerful books I have ever read. I had to keep putting it down because it was hitting me so hard. And then I had to leave the room in a very big hurry so that everyone wouldn't see me burst into tears. (Making me cry is pretty much the biggest badge of honor a book can earn. I have such a hard time losing myself in books to begin with that to be able to be affected so much I cry is pretty much a once-every-few-years occurrence. In fact, the last book I remember making me cry was THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak, another one of my permanent recommendations.)

A MONSTER CALLS is about a boy dealing with his very sick mother, absent father, schoolyard bullies, and, oh yeah, the giant yew tree that comes alive every night like a thing of nightmares and wants something from him he's too terrified to even think about. I'm not going to tell you more than that. I want you to discover it for yourself.

This is a book written for young teens that manages to somehow be accessible and appropriate for them as well as deeply meaningful for adults. I would hate Patrick Ness for being so amazing, but I just love this book so much I can't bring myself to be anything but grateful that people like him exist and have the talent and skill with words and story to create something like this.

It's made my very short list of favorites and permanent recommendations. You should read it.

Now.

18 comments:

Mel Fowler said...

I like to cry too. well maybe I dont 'like' to but I do. A lot. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I will have to read this thanks for the post!

Patti said...

I've heard such great things about this book and that you should read it all in one sitting.

A. Knight said...

Okay, I'm taking your recommendation very seriously and adding this to my to-read pile under 'acquire soon'.

- Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

Julie Daines said...

I also loved the Book Thief, so I'm taking this recommendation. Sounds very intriguing!

Jill Kaplan said...

This book sounds great. I've also read The Book Thief, and though I don't usually cry during books, I found myself sobbing. What are the other books on your list of favorites and permanent recommendations?

-Jill
booklovingal@gmail.com

Sarah said...

Sounds amazing. Would this make a good book club book (for middle age mom types)?

Thanks!

Sarah said...

He's a master, isn't he? Every word in this book is perfect. I can't recommend it enough.

Jessica Lindsay said...

Patrick Ness has been so on my mind today that I actually said his name out loud while reading to my daughter. "And the little red tugboat Patrick Ness sailed down--." How nuts is that? But we've been talking in school about how novelists get to make their own rules, and his Knife of Never Letting Go broke so many rules while breaking my heart. Brilliant. Thanks for the recommendation!

Michelle Wolfson said...

I bought this book on your recommendation-saw it on Twitter the other night. Not sure how long it will take me to read it though. I have a love/hate relationship with books that make me cry. Better for me not to know that going in.

Lexie said...

I think that, in the end, what's more important than how much you enjoyed the book is how much it affected you. It's why I put Thirteen Reasons Why as the book I'm most grateful for, even though it is not my favorite book. The books that can change you, move you, honestly make you bawl, are the ones that you'll remember. I didn't bawl at The Book Thief, because I was too numb; I closed the book and sat there for ten minutes without moving or speaking.
Definitely adding this to my to-read list.

Kate said...

Sounds good, adding it to my "MUST READ IN NEAR FUTURE" list right now! :)

Jade said...

I just ordered it!

The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of my absolute favourite books of all time, so I can easily believe this one is amazing, too.

Also, remind me to tell you the story one day about how a book you recommended changed my life.

Cortney said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I sobbed like a child in The Book Thief!! Loved it.

Faith said...

I am halfway through this book and it's already made me cry once. I am almost afraid to finish it because I know I will be teary.

Allie said...

A Monster Calls is...indescribable! The story affected me so much. And the illustrations are DIVINE! Really glad you read it, Kiersten - more people dserve to know about it!

Liesl Shurtliff said...

I will read this! Especially since you mention THE BOOK THIEF as one of your permanent recommendations. Me too! A book every person should read, no matter what!

Marsha Sigman said...

I hate to cry. But now I'm too curious not to read it!

On the list.

Kim Aippersbach said...

I just read this, and it is gorgeous. Perfect text, perfect illustrations. I got it from the library, but I have to go buy it now. Yes, it made me cry. Tears dripping down my face awesomeness.