Staff Picks — Shannon


Author: NESS, PATRICK, 1971-                              Original Date: 2011

Thirteen-year-old Conor is tormented by his mother’s impending death, a school bully, and recurring nightmares. But one night a monster comes to Conor, tells him three tales, and instructs Conor to tell the fourth–and scariest–of all the tales. For junior and senior high and older readers.  Commercial audiobook. 2011.                             

DB   74426  IPN                                                           

This title has not only an interesting story but an interesting back-story. As the title implies, the idea for this story was not the author’s. Siobhan Dowd died of breast cancer before she had time to write this story, but her editor also worked with author Patrick Ness and between talking with Ms. Dowd’s editor and seeing Ms. Dowd’s notes for the story, “A Monster Calls” grew into a book.

 “A Monster Calls” is set in Ireland. It is about a boy who is visited by a monster in his backyard. The monster will tell the boy three stories but in exchange the boy has to tell the monster a story too. We learn that the boy is coming to terms with his mother’s cancer. Throughout the story we learn that the monster isn’t what you think it is. (Expect tears while reading this one!)

This is a dark and gloomy book, but one I look forward to listening to, especially as the title is read by Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.

For more information about the process of growing this book, read an interview on Publishers Weekly with Patrick Ness and Denise Johnstone Burt (Ms. Dowd’s editor):–a-with-patrick-ness-and-denise-johnstone-burt.html