A Monster Calls

ISBN-10: 0763660655
ISBN-13: 9780763660659
Author: Ness, Patrick
Illustrated by: Kay, Jim
Interest Level: 7-12
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication Date: March 2013

Copyright: 2011

Page Count: 224

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Interest Level

Grades 7-12

Reading Level

Guided Reading: Y
Lexile: 730L
Accelerated Reader Level: 4.8
Accelerated Reader Points: 5.0

BISAC Subjects


YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Family / Parents *

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. 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.
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Craig Varusa, Booksource Publications Coordinator

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2/5/2013 7:57:56 AM
In the middle of the night, a monster calls out Conor's name. Is he awake or is this just a frighteningly realistic dream? And does this strange visit have anything to do with the nightmare that’s plagued him for months. In A Monster Calls, 13-year-old Conor searches for the answers to these questions, while caring for his ailing mother and dealing with a number of other difficult obstacles. This book will take readers on a deeply emotional journey¬ and ask them to join its protagonist in confronting feelings about truth, grief and loss.

Conor is being pulled in many different directions. Cancer is trying to take his mum away. The school bully regularly taunts and abuses him. His strict grandmother wants him to come live with her. Conor’s father, who has been mostly absent from his life, is now trying to help him deal with what seems to be the inevitable. And if this weren’t enough, a monster as old as time itself wants something from him….but what!? Will Conor be prepared to face what the monster has in store for him?

From the very beginning of this emotional tale, educators and students will enjoy making inferences and predicting what will become of Conor, his mother, and the monster. They will watch as Conor faces great adversity and learns to overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges.

An interesting side note: the book’s author, Patrick Ness, developed this story from a premise and characters created by the late young adult author and human rights campaigner Siobhan Dowd. Dowd died from cancer in 2007 at the age of 47.