A Monster Calls: Inspired By An Idea From Siobhan Dowd

A Monster Calls: Inspired By An Idea From Siobhan Dowd

Hardcover | September 15, 2011

byPatrick NessIllustratorJim Kay

not yet rated|write a review
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$20.82 online
$23.00 list price (save 9%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

A Monster Calls: Inspired By An Idea From Siobhan Dowd

Hardcover | September 15, 2011
In stock online Not available in stores
$20.82 online $23.00 (save 9%)

From the Publisher

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, t...

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy. He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children's Book Award. Born in Virginia, he lives in London. Siobhan Dowd spent twenty years as a human rights campaigner ...

other books by Patrick Ness

The Knife Of Never Letting Go (reissue With Bonus Short Story): Chaos Walking: Book One
The Knife Of Never Letting Go (reissue With Bonus Short...

Paperback|Jul 22 2014

$12.58 online$15.00list price(save 16%)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here
The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Paperback|Sep 27 2016


More Than This
More Than This

Paperback|Jul 22 2014

$12.13 online$14.00list price(save 13%)
see all books by Patrick Ness
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 6.56 × 0.81 inPublished:September 15, 2011Publisher:Candlewick PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0763655597

ISBN - 13:9780763655594

Appropriate for ages: 12

Customer Reviews of A Monster Calls: Inspired By An Idea From Siobhan Dowd


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreakingly beautiful. I started this book last night and finished it just over an hour ago. I couldn't write a review right away because there was just so much to process. So I took a shower, thought about it and now here I am. First of all, before the story even starts we see an Author's Note from Patrick Ness that talks about the tragic passing of Siobhan Dowd who was another author that died tragically of breast cancer. Siobhan Dowd was the author who had come up with the original idea for the book, but sadly didn't get to write it. That alone had me feeling pretty depressed and upset. I'm glad Patrick Ness decided to honour her memory by finishing the story for her while not mimicking her writing style, but more so just writing it for her in his own words. A Monster Calls tells the story of Conor O'Malley, a young boy whose mother is suffering from cancer. While looking out of his bedroom window one night he sees a monster who proceeds to tell Conor that he would tell him three tales and that Conor would provide a fourth and that it must contain "the truth". We learn that Conor has been having a recurring nightmare and withing that nightmare lies the truth. This story is so heartbreaking and deep with a lot of symbolism. The line between reality and imagination is blurred and I believe it's up to the reader to come up with some of their own answers. I generally tend not to like it when authors leave the reader with vague explanations only to have to come up with some sort of answer themselves, but there is always an exception. We learn a lot about the characters without Patrick Ness having to go in to an extreme amount of detail. The story and its characters tend to unravel themselves as it goes on. It is hard for me to talk about the ending without going into detail and spoiling it for those who have yet to read it, but I think that Conor's recurring dream had a huge deeper meaning. He loves his mother with all his heart and it is tough for him to be with her in this state and in the end I think everything was satisfying for himself, for the monster and for his family members. Overall, this story was extremely meaningful. I can easily see this book becoming part of the English curriculum in high schools if it isn't already. There is so much that can be discussed about this story and it is definitely worth the read.
Date published: 2015-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story about loss Crying, must get Kleenex, a life lesson on letting a loved one go.
Date published: 2014-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unexplainable This is the book you thrust into someone's hands after they ask you what to read. This is the book that you cry after reading because of how beautiful it is. This is the book you read quick and wish you read slowly because it's the book that should be savored. I was a bit skeptical of Conor's character at first, but then... A monster calls, and that's all I can really say. I thought that this book was truly spectacular and worth reading.
Date published: 2014-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow, just wow i bought this and wow. this book is amazing. if your gonna buy it i would suggest this copy rather than the novel because the pictures just add so much more to the story. i was crying at the end and this book has lessons weaved into the story line. i loved connor and i loved his character and he was adorable and strong. such a beautiful story and wow just wow. i would suggest this for all ages and it left me crying. this 13 year old boy lives with his mom who is suffering from cancer and the story is just heart wrenching.
Date published: 2014-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Inspired Idea Indeed A Monster Calls quickly and unflinchingly found its way to the stop of my favourite book s list as soon as I had finished reading it. All together soft and poetic and yet equally sharp, witty and unflinchingly pulling no emotional punches this book has equal ability to pull both laughter and tears. I don't want to spoil any of the story as I think this is a book that should with as blank a knowledge of its plot as possible I would highly recommend it to any whose heart is yearning for a powerful and emotionally eye opening journey. A Monster Calls is certainly one of my favourite books of all time and the tears I shed while journeying through its pages will never be forgotten.
Date published: 2014-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a gem “Are you crying, Mom?” My daughter was settled in at the foot of my bed playing on her iPhone and I was reading the last few pages of Patrick Ness’s remarkable novel, A Monster Calls. And, yeah, I was crying. Hard by the end of it. Damn you, Patrick Ness. Siobhan Dowd is credited for the idea for A Monster Calls, but sadly Ms. Dowd died – at the age of 47 – before she ever had the chance to see her idea through to the end. As Ness acknowledges in his Author’s Note, “the thing about good ideas is that they grow other ideas. Almost before I could help it, Siobhan’s ideas were suggesting new ones to me, and I began to feel that itch that every writer longs for: the itch to start getting words down, the itch to tell a story.” A Monster Calls is the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley who lives with his mom in a little house in a little town in England. His parents are divorced and his dad now lives in the States with his new wife and a baby daughter. Conor rarely sees him. Conor’s mom is ill. Readers will figure out early on that she has cancer and that Conor is doing his level best to cope, with varying degrees of success. Then the monster shows up “just after midnight. As they do.” Conor isn’t particularly afraid of this monster. Despite its “great and terrible face”, Conor tells the monster he’s “seen worse.” And even though he claims not to be frightened of the monster, the monster replies that he will be “before the end.” The monster continues to visit at night with stories that make no sense to Conor. The monster also claims that there will come a time for the fourth tale – that is Conor’s story. Conor knows what the monster is talking about: a recurring nightmare which terrifies him and which he insists he will not be sharing. In the meantime, his mother grows weaker, his grandmother steps in to help out (much to Conor’s dismay) and his father visits from America – a sure sign of the Apocalypse. The monster drives Conor to action, but also to irrefutable truths. The monster says,” Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” Conor’s truth is one that he is unwilling to face, but which comes barrelling towards him anyway. And as a reader, I have to say, I was unprepared for its impact. A Monster Calls reminded me a little bit of John Connolly’s brilliant novel The Book of Lost Things. Connolly’s story is also about a boy on a journey from innocence to experience. You should definitely check it out. As for A Monster Calls – I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Date published: 2013-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable and Beautiful A Monster Calls is a book which is truly beautiful. It deals with pain, anger, loss, and how hard it can be to learn to let go. Ness does a fantastic job taking what awesomness Dowd had created and making it a fantastic book for all ages. Well, not all ages. Dont let the beautiful and stunning pictures scattered throughout this book fool you; this is not a picture book for kids. It takes a certain amount of depth for someone to really grasp what meaning this book holds, and to appreciate it. Conor is a young teenager who is haunted by a dream - a nightmare - that scares him every night when he goes to sleep. One day, at 12:07 in the morning, he is waken from his nightmare only to find a monster - but Conor isnt scared, because its not the one from his horrible, terrible nightmare he keeps having. Only what Conor doesnt realize is that this monster is far more scary, for it comes to Conor for one thing, and one thing only. The truth. He must come face to face with his bullies that torment him and his mom's illness through 3 tales the monster shares with him. Only then can Conor learn to face his inner demons before moving on with his life and letting go. If you're looking for a deep, dark, stunning book, this is it. Conor goes through so many emotions and experences that scar him, and readers cant help but feel connected to him. The ending will leave you in tears but you'll be captivated and inspired and completely intregued. Ness hooks you right from the start and creates a marvelous adventure. Of course, credit has to be given to Dowd, who came up with the idea and concept but sadly past away before setting the ideas into motion. Thats where Ness comes in. Together, they make the ultimate book which is moving, heartbreaking, heartwarming, stunning, and remarkable. You're taken on an emotional rollar coaster, one that has you horrified yet so, so mesmerised. Its one that you will not want to stop. A Monster Calls is deep and real, and contains true meaning. There are some serious life-lessons within this book, and it can most definiely be life changing! No, its not fun, not at all, so i wouldnt exactly recommend it as a light, summer read, this is a dark book, one that will tear at your heart, but it is definitely worth it. It contains real beauty and is so, so true to life. Many people can learn from this book, and the stories that the monster tells Conor are so freaking awesome. They each have meaning, have truth, and dont just help Conor, but anyone. These two fantastic authors put a unique and creative twist on a fairly simple story. Though its not simple, is it? No, its not. Not at all. (just read the book. Thats all there is left to do.) Is it possible to fall in love with a book? If so, this is it! How can you not love a book so powerful and impacting!! What can I say? Its horrible and awful and depressing, yet its amazing and beautiful and uplifting. Is that even possible, you ask? Yes. Yes it is, you want proof, this is it. I dont know how an author can put so much emotion and depth into a book, but Ness and Dowd have done it! Together they have made a true masterpiece, one that will leave you thinging about it long after you turn the last page.
Date published: 2013-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tears were shed while reading this book. Who was the one who said she will never cry while reading a book but totally did while reading a Patrick Ness' book? That's right. This girl. Never have I read a more moving story than this one. This book is more than just a young adult book. It's a book that will teach everyone something about love and life. It will teach you how to deal with your inner monster and how to heal when seemingly the worst thing has just happened. This book is truly magical. I'm so proud to say that I am a MEGA Patrick Ness' fan. Every word he writes carries an extraordinary glow with it. I can't stress enough for everyone to pick this book up and spend an afternoon with it. You will not regret it.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful, Haunting Story of Terminal Illness Reason for Reading: I was simply drawn to the plot and the cover. A 13-year-old boy is dealing with the terminal illness of his single mother. He has nightmares almost every night, is a loner at school, is bullied by one boy in particular and one night begin the visitations of a monster at 12:07. The story deals with the normal emotions of a child dealing with the imminent death of a parent: grief, anger, etc. and the mystical world of the nightmares and the monster symbolize things the boy can't verbalize or rationalize himself otherwise. This is a dark story but with a redeeming ending. Don't let the fact that it is an illustrated book fool you into thinking the book is suitable for young children. It is definitely a YA title, dealing with some tough emotions, dark situations, frightening scenes and emotionally draining. I lost my mother to terminal illness at age 24 and the deathbed scene brought tears to my eyes. A powerful, haunting and gut-wrenching story. The book is profusely illustrated in a very dark manner. With what appears to be black ink throughout, some illustrations are mostly dark texturized blackness with no focal image while others are quite outstanding haunting images featuring the monster. On their own I'm not sure I would appreciate them but they are a perfect match for the story being told. This is a book I wouldn't be surprised to see on award lists.
Date published: 2011-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Both creepifying and moving.
Date published: 2011-11-18

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

There's no denying it: this is one profoundly sad story. But it's also wise, darkly funny and brave, told in spare sentences, punctuated with fantastic images and stirring silences. Past his sorrow, fright and rage, Conor ultimately lands in a place - an imperfect one, of course - where healing can begin. A MONSTER CALLS is a gift from a generous story­teller and a potent piece of art.—The New York TimesA nuanced tale that draws on elements of classic horror stories to delve into the terrifying terrain of loss. . . . Ness brilliantly captures Conor's horrifying emotional ride as his mother's inevitable death approaches. In an ideal pairing of text and illustration, the novel is liberally laced with Kay's evocatively textured pen-and-ink artwork, which surrounds the text, softly caressing it in quiet moments and in others rushing toward the viewer with a nightmarish intensity.A poignant tribute to the life and talent of Siobhan Dowd and an astonishing exploration of fear.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)Profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale... a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations... tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight.—Publishers Weekly (starred review)A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.—School Library Journal (starred review)Ness twists out a resolution that is revelatory in its obviousness, beautiful in its execution, and fearless in its honesty. Kays artwork keeps the pace, gnawing at the edges of the pages with thundercloud shadows and keeping the monster just barely, terribly seeable.—Booklist (starred review)A masterpiece about life and loss that will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.—Library Media Connection (starred review)