I recently had the pleasure to read A Monster Calls by author Patrick Ness. Although this wonderfully written, unique book is designated as a children's fantasy novel, it is a story for all ages.
The main character in the story is 12 year-old Conner, who lives with his mother, who is suffering from cancer. Every night, Conner is visited by a giant monster who has formed from a yew tree near the graveyard, with branch-like arms, who tells him stories to help him understand and deal with difficult life issues.
Conner has more than his fair share of hardships including an absent father, a cantankerous grandmother, and a fierce group of bullies at school.
This is not a happy story, but it is a valuable one. It's a story about facing your fears and learning to accept changes in your life.
Using humor as a safety net, Ness navigates the reader through a gauntlet of emotions including rage, pity, love, loneliness, hope, and sadness. The haunting illustrations, by Jim Kay, echo the mood beautifully.
A movie based on A Monster Calls, with performances from Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, and Liam Neeson, is due for release in 2016.
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