Friday, November 11, 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Humans are a story species, according to Joseph Gold. Thirteen-year-old Conor O'Malley learns about the power of stories when he meets an ancient British monster. Can anything be scarier than knowing his mother is terminally ill? Conor must find the courage to face his nightmares as well as the bullies at school.

Illustrator Jim Kay has created lots of atmospheric black and white art that adds to the menacing suspense of the tale. The expensive clay-based paper shows off Kay's subtle textures and spiky sharp contrasts. It also make the book feel nice and heavy, even though it is barely over 200 pages long.

Irish author Siobhan Dowd died of cancer at 47, leaving behind two completed manuscripts (since published) as well as an idea sketched out for another novel. Patrick Ness crafted this story based on Dowd's notes. It is fabulous. Have kleenex handy.

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