On My Bookshelf: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

July 03, 2017

In A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Conor is struggling to accept that his mother is losing her fight against breast cancer and holds out hope that a monster, in the form of a yew tree, will have a way to help him. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon:  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.

Why I liked it: A Monster Calls features two interwoven plot lines. One follows Conor and the battle
In A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Conor is struggling to accept that his mother is losing her fight against breast cancer and holds out hope that a monster, in the form of a yew tree, will have a way to help him. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
with breast cancer that his mother is losing. The other is centered around the interactions between Conor and a monster who takes the form of the yew tree in his backyard. I loved the three tales that the monster tells to Conor, as they each cause him to question what is good and bad, what is right and wrong. 

Classroom application: The tales told by the monster could be used as excerpts to supplement a twisted fairy tale unit.

Conor's struggle to accept that his mother is dying and the isolation he feels at school are fortunately not experiences I have ever had to face, but I think that the author presents these issues realistically and students who are struggling with either or both would be able to relate.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of A Monster Calls for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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