May 4, 2017
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
Oh my,oh my! Another one of my favourite writers! Ever since the Chaos Walking Trilogy first came to my notice I have been a fervent admirer of Patrick Ness’ writing and of course with the film of A Monster Calls soon to be released, his work is even more resonant with readers at present.
On one Saturday small town teenager Adam finds his world falling to pieces but at the same time he is being released from its confines. The son of a fundamentalist preacher, Adam’s homosexuality has become the ‘elephant in the room’ with his family with who he is constantly at loggerheads. In just twenty four hours everything turns around for him while at the same time the ghost of a recently murdered girl arises from the nearby lake seeking retribution and her own release. As is common with Ness’ writing the parallel narratives – one all too earthly and one very much mystical reality – weave in and out around the residents of Adam’s town.
Adam’s struggle with resolving his feelings about his first love and finding the joy with his new one form a large portion of his twenty-four hours but there is also the imminent loss of his long time female friend as she plans to move away, the revelation that his ‘perfect’ big brother has impregnated a girl who is not even his ‘girlfriend’ and the horrible unwanted advances of his creepy boss to deal with.
John Green describes Ness’ writing as ‘insanely beautiful’ and I have to agree. If you have never read any of his work – you should!
Given the central theme of Adam’s sexuality being prominent in this plot, this is not a book for every school library but for many it will be a turning point as a coming –of- age novel that validates being true to oneself and finding inner strength.
Highly recommended for older readers from around 15 years upwards.
November 1, 2016
Australian RRP: $34.99
New Zealand RRP: $37.99
I first fell in love with Patrick Ness’ writing with the much acclaimed and prize winning Chaos Walking trilogy. I had not read A Monster Calls until this gorgeous hardback edition, which marks the imminent release of the movie, arrived and I’ve fallen in love all over again.
What a master of flawless prose he is! and combined with the illustrative magic of Jim Kay (think the illustrated Harry Potter books) this is a book that a reader will return to again and again.
Author Siobhan Dowd had put forward an idea or concept for this novel but sadly succumbed to cancer before she could move forward with it. Her publishers thought it was such a valuable premise that they sought a writer who might do it justice. Patrick Ness was the perfect choice and created what is now considered a modern classic.
When young Conor realises that a nightmare has become real and there really is a monster in the garden and it has come for him, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that is moving, funny, profound and heartbreaking until the truth is revealed.
Conor’s recurring nightmare began when his mother’s treatments did and won’t end until he has accepted why the ancient and very wild monster has come for him and what he must do to send it back to its former slumber.
Along with the fully illustrated novel there are over one hundred pages of interviews, details, essays, stills and more from the movie, which promises to be every bit as powerful as the novel.
I read it in one sitting and savoured every moment. So many books arrive for review that they stack up in tottering piles and after review. I find them good homes either in our own library collection or passed on to those who could use them but this one is too beautiful to leave my shelves. It will be taken up and stroked for its aesthetic qualities and read for its marvellous writing and illustrations many times.
Highly recommended for Upper Primary and Secondary students as well as all adults who appreciate a truly remarkable read.