A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This month's book is an absolute must read. I picked it up as something to read between other books as it's quite short & a member of my old book club had said how much he'd enjoyed it. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down and finished it within a couple of days.
The story follows a young boy who has nightmares, at the exact same time each night, of a monster visiting him. He's bullied at school and having a hard time at home as his mother battles cancer. The descriptions of the monster really are quite scary and the accompanying illustrations (below) go along way to help achieve this.
Each time the monster visits the protagonist he tells him a story, stating that after the final story is told the boy will have to tell the monster his "truth", his story. The monster's stories were one of my favourite parts of this books, tales of days gone by and good vs. evil, although, ultimately, each time the message is never as black and white as that. The stereotypically 'good' and 'bad' characters are much deeper than that, and even when someone has done something bad, sometimes the good in them can still redeem them. Considering this book is aimed at children aged 11+ I thought it was an incredibly eloquent and clever way to describe such important things to a younger audience. The end is extremely poignant yet simple; in my opinion, A Monster Calls may just be a perfect book.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? & FYI, in case you were wondering, the Kindle version also contains these beautifully haunting illustrations.