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Patrick Ness is the author of the critically-acclaimed and bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy. He has won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Costa Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. He lives in Bromley, Kent. Siobhan Dowd was the widely-loved, prize-winning author of four books, two of which were published after her death from cancer, aged 47. In 2009, she became the first author ever posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal. Jim Kay studied illustration and worked in the archives of the Tate Gallery and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, two experiences that heavily influence his work. His images for A Monster Calls use everything from beetles to bread boards to create interesting marks and textures. He lives in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
Gr 7 Up-Patrick Ness takes a tale inspired by the late Siobhan Dowd and turns it into a deeply moving and magical novel (Candlewick, 2011). Is 13-year-old Conor O'Malley imagining that the yew tree is thundering down the hill to tell him scary stories? Or are the pressures of his mother's cancer and bullying classmates distorting his perceptions? Despite his mother's rapid decline, Conor doesn't expect help from his divorced father now living in America or want his stern grandmother's assistance. The gruff, living nightmare appears when the clock says 12:07, usually in the dark of night, but once at school lunch. Sometimes destructive acts happen during these visits, but other times Conor encounters terrifying images of his mother slipping over a cliff. The boy keeps trying to sort through his fears, denial, and loneliness. When his mother starts on a last ditch treatment using medicine from yew trees, Conor wants to believe she will recover. The ultimately supportive monster helps Conor face the truth as the teen painfully lets go. Narrator Jason Isaacs expertly runs the emotional gamut from the powerful and vociferous yew tree monster to the tender weakness of Connor's dying mother. He solidly captures the mood swings of the angry, frightened young man. At the conclusion of the tale, an interview with Ness explores the novel's development. The bonus CD contains Jim Kay's pen-and-ink arwork that reflects the mood of the tale. This fine audiobook offers unvarnished truth wrapped in fluid prose and cushioned with fantasy. A highly recommended addition to public, middle, and high school libraries.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Moving and compelling . . . outstanding writing * The East Anglian Times * A haunting narrative dominated by symbol and atmosphere -- Robert Dunbar * Irish Times * Incredibly thought-provoking and emotional . . . a complete stunner of a book which I couldn't rate anything below five out of five stars. I loved it! * UKYA * Dark and dangerous, beautifully illustrated and even a bit hopeful. * Charlie Fletcher, author of the Stoneheart trilogy * emotionally powerful * Daily Express * "It is a novel that does not shy away from the harsh realities that we all have to face from time to time. As such, it is sometimes uncomfortable, often heart-breaking and always true. [...] A Monster Calls teaches us about the importance of confronting the truth - no matter how unpleasant or monstrous it may seem." * Buckinghamshire Life *