• A Monster Calls

  • Inspired by an Idea from Siobhan Dowd
  • By: Patrick Ness
  • Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
  • Length: 3 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (3,422 ratings)

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A Monster Calls

By: Patrick Ness
Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
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Publisher's Summary

NOW A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! 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.

©2011 Patrick Ness (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Compelling ... powerful and impressive." (Philip Pullman, author of the award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy)
“Brilliant and elegant, with all the thrills and ambition you would expect from the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy." (Frank Cottrell Boyce, award-winning author of Millions and Cosmic)
“Haunting, lyrical, powerful, and true. Patrick Ness has crafted a masterful story about grief and loss, love and hope that lingers in the heart like a ghost.” (Libba Bray, author of the Printz Award-winning novel Going Bovine)
"Exceptional ... this is storytelling as it should be - harrowing, lyrical, and transcendent." (Meg Rosoff, author of the Printz Award–winning novel How I Live Now)

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What listeners say about A Monster Calls

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good "one-timer" for all ages

This book is definitely on my “one-timer” list. A “one-timer” is a good or great book that I will only read once because it is too emotionally draining or intense for me to handle. I admit I don’t usually read/listen to these types of stories because of the emotional drain they cause. I know some folks find them very therapeutic or cathartic but that is not me so I had force myself through this one.

That being stated it doesn’t mean this book isn’t good because it is actually a very well done story with a great buildup of tension and emotion. The relationship between Connor and the Monster didn’t seem forced or unrealistic and there was a natural flow to the story. Even though you know the ending is coming, the force of it isn’t lessened because of the good job the author did of building the emotional ties to the characters of Connor and his mom.

Jason Isaacs did an absolutely fabulous job with the narration in this book. Then again as far as I am concerned he could read the phone book and I would be happy. It was very interesting though as he voiced each of the characters I created a very vivid image in my head of how each character appeared and that was due to his great ability.

104 people found this helpful

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Sweet Surprise

This book was chosen by my book club and I didn't have a clue what it was about. I recently lost a dear friend to cancer after a 4 year battle and am headed down the same path now with another dear friend. I sobbed as I empathized with this young man. I've had the same feelings and felt such guilt. It was healing for me to see that those were normal feelings when watching someone you love so much, fight so hard, all the while praying for a miracle and the happy ending doesn't come. The reader and story line were both amazing! Thanks for helping to heal my heart.

52 people found this helpful

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Most powerful book this year

Patrick Ness has written a book that will stay with me for a very long time. The human condition is so well depicted, our vulnerability, our capacity for self-deception, and our lack of seeing beyond the situation directly in front of us. Isaac's narration kept me enthralled, wanting to know what was next, all the while knowing what the final outcome would be.

41 people found this helpful

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Not all stories have happy endings

STORIES ARE IMPORTANT
In four hours, we and Connor face divorce, cancer, bullies and loss. Uplifting, this book is not. In an interview in the end, Ness says he wrote this for himself and then he says he wrote it for teenagers. He wanted teenagers to get a real understanding of death without the sugar coating they would normally get. He wanted them to know that things don't always turn out alright or happily ever after. He does this through stories told by a monster and through Connors real life. I commend him for this and believe he does a fine job of accomplishing this. The stories the monster tells are interesting and thought provoking. Connor responds like a preteen or a teenager.

12:07
The story had a little of a 1960's feel to it. I did not understand the big deal that was made out of the divorce of Connor's parents. I understand Connor being mad at his dad, but did not understand the school kids making such a big deal out of it. In this day and age with so many parents divorcing, it is not such a big deal to school kids. I don't believe he would be made fun of and bullied, because his parents were divorced. In order to be dramatic I believe Ness over did it on that issue. I also did not like how the conflict was settled. Ness settled it through violence. I understand that kids have to stand up for themselves, but since Ness wanted to be so realistic, he should not have sugar coated the outcome. I thought we as a society were past, Might means Right or the good guys wear white hats and always win.

All in all the story was good. I gave it four stars, but I will admit that I was ready for it to end.

35 people found this helpful

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The Movie

I saw the preview of A Monster Calls & it got my interest, so I went to audible to read about the story. It's not just about a boy who deals with death, but the death of a writer with ideas & a writer who takes her ideas & writes a GREAT story. Yes, it is to help teenagers but it can help anyone of all ages. Patrick Ness I think you did a wonderful job bring forth this awesome tale. Looking forward to the movie.

24 people found this helpful

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One for all-time - especially for adults

The reason I keep reading so-called children’s books into my 50s is because when they are true and right — like this one is — they can hit you harder and speak truths more honest than any so-called adult book. Man, I just finished this seconds ago and it’s been a long long time since I’ve literally had tears streaming down my face. Whew. The book tells the story of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer, and a monster comes to him and says he’s going to tell the boy three stories and then the boy is going to have to speak truth to the monster. The boy is perfectly skeptical and sarcastic to this monster who is not scaring him because how could anything be scarier than having your mom be dying. And damned if that monster didn’t reveal a serious, honest truth, a truth I wish I’d understood better when my own mom was dying of cancer. Anyway, I’m probably scaring you off from this book, but it is great great great. One for all-time. Damn, it was good. Get the audio version. The narration is brilliant and elevates the story even higher. Grade: A+

18 people found this helpful

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Absolutely fantastic.

It is so raw, and real, and beautiful and it will never cease to make my sob like a baby. I can't handle how amazing it is.

16 people found this helpful

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Bummer

Biggest bummer book of all time.
Great performance though. Extremely sad story, I don't feel too good after finishing this.

12 people found this helpful

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Very moving

The story was a bit difficult to bear at times, especially since I lost my husband to cancer almost 10 years ago, but it was an excellent read. The narrator was outstanding.

11 people found this helpful

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Very dark

This is a dark and intense story. I'm not sure it would be appropriate for sensitive children. The narrator was fantastic and really dramatized the story, but, again, it just seemed too intense to be classified as a children's book. ( only my opinion, of course )

10 people found this helpful