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review 2018-04-11 18:01
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls - Jason Isaacs,Patrick Ness

I had this book on my Audible app for too long and decided to listen to it for #SpringHorror and though I wouldn't consider it a true horror novel, it felt more like a dark fable/fairytale rooted in modern times, it did have some horrific elements. A young boy dealing with a whole lot of awful, is visited by a monster who tells him stories and demands that after the third story is told the boy will have to share one of his own.

 

This one will punch you right in the heart and will probably make you cry. I don't think I will ever listen to it again because it is just too painful. The poor kids emotions are so raw and genuine and all over the place, the anger, the denial, the fear, all of it rang 100% true and that's all I'm saying because I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't read it yet (though I may be the last!) and it's really to painful for me to revisit. The narrator is most excellent too.

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review 2017-10-06 15:05
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness,Siobhan Dowd

This was a good book. It's not like there was anything necessarily bad about it. Cool story and a creative way of approaching the subject of loss and grief.

I think my expectations were too high for it though. I had heard really great things about it and wanted to read it before seeing the movie. I didn't really know what to expect.

I have not read any of Patrick Ness or Siobhan Dowd's writing before, so I am not sure how this compares to any of their previous work. It is a good book, especially considering it was based on one author's ideas and notes that another author wrote into a book.

The story was good and I liked the plot, but the writing was really simple. Obviously it is meant for a younger audience, but often it just felt too simplistic. Conor's character didn't really resonate with me either. He felt very two-dimensional and easy to figure out.

It's a quick read that is pretty predictable. Right when the monster shows up, you pretty much know what has to happen by the end.

But the journey to the end is still interesting. I enjoyed the idea of the three stories and having Conor come up with the fourth. Very interesting idea of how to confront various emotions.

I do think this is a great discussion book for young readers, especially when looking at some of the discussion questions in the back of the book. There is a lot going on in this book; it is just hidden beneath a layer of simplicity that is kind of hard to sweep away.

I think this book is a 3.5, but I bumped it up to 4 stars because of its ambitious approach of the subject matter.

Overall, a good read and I want to see how the movie version compares.

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text 2017-09-29 02:05
Halloween Bingo - Magical Realism
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness,Siobhan Dowd

For the Magical Realism square, I went with A Monster Calls. It's a YA horror book, but it wasn't scary at all. Definitely sad though.

 

 

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review 2017-09-05 22:29
Book 55/100: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

I rarely give books five stars, but this one just gave me so many feels.

I already knew that Patrick Ness is an excellent writer, at least when it comes to his YA work. But this book was staggeringly beautiful, dealing with tragedy in a way that is real and raw and not full of the melodrama or romanticization that so often goes along with YA or middle-grade depictions of grief. Not only that, but Ness takes a look at the darker, messier sides of grieving that are universal and yet rarely acknowledged, something that is particularly important for kids to encounter: the scary things we think or feel when we are on the edge of losing someone we love are OK, normal, and understandable.

This book also strikes the perfect balance between fantasy and realism, allowing the reader to decide how much of it is "real" and how much Conor's own invention/coping mechanism. Aside from Conor's grandmother, the characters are not particularly fleshed out -- however, this type of characterization works in a story that can be read mostly as an allegory. And really, any book that makes me cry this much is definitely doing something right.

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review 2017-07-25 20:19
"Canadian West: When Calls the Heart" by Janette Oke
When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1) - Janette Oke

I'm not a fan of the description on the back of this book. "Beth discovers that [Wynn] also has determined never to marry." Okay, we don't get to that part until page 164 (out of 221). It doesn't make sense for this information to be made known before reading it. To make things worse, for a portion of the book, we are supposed to believe that Wynn is already married (though it's obvious he isn't, even without the poor description, which brings me to my next point).

It was frustrating how naïve Elizabeth could be. First she couldn't figure out that Higgins was planning on marrying her, despite his aggressive flirting. Then she took ridiculous precautions to protect herself from "wolves" -- they're animals; not zombies! Next she couldn't stand the mice in her house, but couldn't stomach any methods of getting rid of them. Then she couldn't figure out why a man named Wynn Delaney would have an interest in a child named Phillip Delaney. And when she finally realized that there was a family connection, she couldn't imagine any other connection between the two beside father and child. Like, she thought Wynn was married with children and flagrantly flirting with her in front of everyone in town including his wife, despite otherwise being a respectable man. How is it that she's so sensitive to flirting except when it came from Higgins, anyway?

(spoiler show)


Also, normally, I hate it when people complain about a book (or movie) being "preachy" because I feel like they're being overly sensitive and acting like they were tricked into reading a "Christian" book despite the fact that the description of the book was very open about the spiritual content. However, in the case of When Calls the Heart, "preachy" is an accurate description. Whether that's a bad thing or not, I don't know. I felt like it was a bit unnatural, like it switched to the author speaking directly to the reader instead of conversations within the story.

I did still enjoy it. Though I couldn't tell you why. I do love Wynn Delaney's name. There's one good thing. Haha. Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? Anyway, I'll continue the series, but there are other Janette Oke books I'd recommend rather than this one.

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