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.
After seeing what other picked for Diverse Voices, mostly Black writers, I kind of get what this Diverse Voices square means.
I changed my mind and read this for "Magical Realism" square. This is a mystery if this boy Seth is dead or alive and in danger. I got this book on the TBR pile for too long.
Looking forward to this.
Change my mind about it and would read another book for this square.
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.