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.
In his introduction to this profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale of unaccountable loss, Ness explains how he developed the story from a set of notes left by Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2007 before she had completed a first draft. "I felt and feel as if I've been handed a baton, like a particularly fine writer has given me her story and said, Go. Run with it. Make trouble.' " What Ness has produced is a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations. Conor O'Malley is 13. His mother is being treated for cancer; his father, Liam, has remarried and lives in America; and Conor is left in the care of a grandmother who cares more for her antique wall clock than her grandson. This grim existence is compounded by bullies at school who make fun of his mother's baldness, and an actual nightmare that wakes Conor, screaming, on a recurring basis. Then comes the monster part human, part arboreal a hulking yew tree that walks to his window just after midnight and tells three inscrutable parables, each of which disappoints Conor because the good guy is continually wronged. "Many things that are true feel like a cheat," the monster explains. In return for the monster's stories, Conor must tell his own, and the monster demands it be true, forcing Conor, a good boy, a dutiful son, to face up to his feelings: rage and, worse still, fear. If one point of writing is to leave something that transcends human existence, Ness has pulled a fast one on the Grim Reaper, finishing the story death kept Dowd from giving us. It is a story that not only does honor to her memory, it tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight. Ages 12 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Breaks your heart
The book is heart breaking. A hard situation for a teen who does not know how to deal with it and has none to talk about it with or even a shoulder to cry on. Sad story, you can feel submerged in the story.
Absolutely Stunning I cried......
My daughter passed away at 14 years old. It almost killed me to go on, to accept what had taken place for not only myself but my loved ones. It was such a horrible life of denial and confusion perpetuated by my own mind. I constantly belittled my self for not being stronger for not accepting this horrible tragedy. The stories in this book touched my heart because as I read I realized I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do in light of the situations presented to me. I was so lost and I have always attempted to reason with myself that I am okay. This book made me feel like I can be honest with myself that I may never be okay with what has happened but I am going to have to accept it. 😔
A tale of a young boy who faces any boy's greatest fear. Thought provoking scenarios that will have you thinking about your own life experiences.