2016 reading challenge, Books, Books Are My Bag, Reading challenges, Recommendations

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

Last week, I went to see The Tempest at the Donmar Theatre at Kings Cross (all women, amazing) and found myself with an afternoon to kill between work and meeting Lauren for dinner, so I went to see Hunt For The Wilderpeople at the cinema (that deserves its own post, really, but trust me when I tell you that it is a true delight of a film). And one of the trailers was for A Monster Calls. I’ve had a copy of this since the first BAMB Bookshop Crawl, over two years ago, when Chloe pressed it into my hands and told me I must read it. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t read it yet, except that I am terrible. I’d heard a film had been made, but hadn’t paid much attention yet. But when I saw the trailer, it spurred me on.

So last Sunday, when I was packing for a trip to Lancashire (my cousin is pregnant, she needed help getting her house in order so she can feel a bit more ready, so we went up to help her), it was the first book I picked up. I started it one morning, drinking my tea in our hotel room overlooking the M65… and we were late leaving that morning. I read it on the other mornings, and finished it today, in a patch of sunshine with my windows open, and I sobbed.

A Monster Calls is beautiful. It’s about families, and illness, and magic, and fairytales, and truth, and childhood, and trust. It’s very clear on the importance of being honest with children, too. It’s clever, and original, and absolutely heartbreaking. Jim Kay’s illustrations, too, are exquisite, and really add to the story. I loved it. I just rewatched the trailer, and the film looks like a really faithful, beautiful adaptation, and although I expect I’ll cry my eyes out watching it, I definitely want to see it.


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