A Monster Calls is a fantastic coming of age story. Conor’s mother is very sick. Since her illness, Conor has been treated differently at school and works hard at home, trying to keep everything running smoothly while she’s resting. He’s had a nightmare too- one that wakes him screaming almost every night. But then, one night, he dreams a different dream in which a monster formed from a yew tree comes to his home…
This book gave me goosebumps, it’s so good! I especially liked the monster’s tales.
Here’s the first time Conor meets the monster: “… here was a monster, clear as the clearest night, towering thirty or forty feet above him, breathing heavily in the night air. “It’s only a dream,” he said again. ‘But what is a dream, Conor O’Malley?’ the monster said, bending down so its face was close to Conor’s. ‘Who is to say that it is not everything ELSE that is the dream?'” pg 38 (ebook) Who’s to say?
“‘Here is what will happen, Conor O’Malley,’ the monster continued, ‘I will come to you again on further nights.’ Conor felt his stomach clench, like he was preparing for a blow. ‘And I will tell you three stories. Three tales from when I walked before.’ Conor blinked. Then blinked again. “You’re going to tell me STORIES?” ‘Indeed,’ the monster said. “Well-” Conor looked around in disbelief. “How is THAT a nightmare?” ‘Stories are the wildest things of all,’ the monster rumbled. ‘Stories chase and bite and hunt.'” pg 40-41 (ebook) Love, love, love! “Stories are the wildest things of all.” Yeah, they are.
I love the relationship that develops between Conor and the monster: “He (Conor) heard a strange rumbling, different from before, and it took him a minute to realize the monster was laughing. ‘You think I tell you stories to teach you lessons?’ the monster said. ‘You think I have come walking out of time and earth itself to teach you a lesson in niceness?’ It laughed louder and louder again, until the ground was shaking and it felt like the sky itself might tumble down.” pg 70 (ebook)
One more small passage that I had to include, not because it’s particularly important to the story but because it’s so very true: “Conor stared out the window… “How long are you here for?” he asked. He’d been afraid to ask before now. His father let out a long breath, the kind of breath that said bad news was coming. “Just a few days, I’m afraid.” Conor turned to him. “That’s all?” “Americans don’t get much holiday.” pg 103 (ebook) Mic drop!
This is a young adult book, but if you’re looking for excellent fairy tales (like the monster’s stories) you may want to pick up In the Night Garden (The Orphan’s Tales, #1) by Catherynne Valente or, for another amazing coming of age story with fairy tale elements, try The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Thanks for reading! ~Heidi