Stacey Loscalzo

Dec 15

A Monster Calls

by Stacey

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a must read.

Kirkus Review writes of a Monster Calls,

A nuanced tale that draws on elements of classic horror stories to delve into the terrifying terrain of loss. . . . Ness brilliantly captures Conor’s horrifying emotional ride as his mother’s inevitable death approaches. In an ideal pairing of text and illustration, the novel is liberally laced with Kay’s evocatively textured pen-and-ink artwork, which surrounds the text, softly caressing it in quiet moments and in others rushing toward the viewer with a nightmarish intensity. A poignant tribute to the life and talent of Siobhan Dowd and an astonishing exploration of fear.

It has been positively reviewed here in the New York Times and here in the Telegraph.

It has received multiple awards: Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books 2011, Fiction; SLJ Best Books of 2011, Fiction; The New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2011, Young Adult.

Many book bloggers, including  Meg Medina (who I owe a public thank you for the nomination she sent my way for a Liebster award) declared a Monster Calls her favorite book of the year.

And I too loved it. I can’t stop thinking about the haunting tale. I also can’t help wondering if it is indeed a book for children. The story is so dark and so incredibly sad. Is it so because of the life baggage that I bring to it? Would children be equally disturbed?

As we approach award season, I am eager to hear more and more about A Monster Calls. I do know it should win awards.  I’m just not sure if it should be winning awards for children’s literature or for adult fiction.



  1. Zoe says:

    Oooh stacey, this is one of my very favourite reads of 2011. I think it is a great book for older kids – YA I suppose. The illustrations are astonishingly good too. In Feb I’m taking part in an awards ceremony where Patrick Ness will be, and we’re all “fighting” over who gets to be his chaperone! 🙂

    • Stacey says:

      Zoe- I also LOVED this book. In fact, I can’t stop talking about it… I guess I’m coming from the place of a protective mom. I keep thinking about this book winning awards and then being read in classrooms and libraries. I feel like this is a book to be read one on one with a loving adult- almost no matter how old you are! There is just such potential for strong feelings and important questions…

  2. Zoe says:

    I hear you Stacey. But I would be terribly terribly sad if this book was some how censored or people had access restricted to it. It’s so beautifully and sensitively written I think, and explores the fear felt by the boy so very very well – I think that almost makes it a “safe” book – a good place to explore the emotions and thoughts and the what-if type questions – a safe haven like only books can often provide.

  3. […] and at Amazon right away with little luck. While I was able to find such current treasures as A Monster Calls and some old winners like Jaqueline Wilson’s Best Friends, there were many more books that […]

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