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leaning on the side of wonder

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay

Additional shelving titles for this one could be: Requires Chocolate (Because Professor Lupin Said So), Have Your Tissue(s) Handy, Even Adults Can Enjoy Illustrations, Everyone Should Read This.


A beautiful story about love, loss, holding on, and letting go... and a breathtaking monster that "goes walking" only in the most dire of circumstances. In this instance, it's for Conor O'Malley as he & his family watch his mother lose her battle to cancer. This book was not what I thought it would be - it was so much more. So lovely and heart wrenching and full of lessons and metaphors and humor and things that make you THINK.


It's always a treat to read a book with such a well-crafted story and told in such beautiful words. My reader's gratitude goes to Siobhan Dowd for her idea, and Patrick Ness who ran with it & made all sorts of trouble.



“If you speak the truth, the monster whispered in his ear, you will be able to face whatever comes.”



“Stories don't always have happy endings."
This stopped him. Because they didn't, did they? That's one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn't expect.”



Because humans are complicated beasts, the monster said. How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch? How can a prince be a murderer and a saviour? How can an apothecary be evil-tempered but right-thinking? How can a parson be wrong-thinking but good-hearted? How can invisible men make themselves more lonely by being seen?

"I don't know," Connor shrugged, exhausted. "Your stories never made any sense to me."

The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.