A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I finished this exquisitely designed and illustrated short volume a couple of days ago and still cannot quite figure out where I stand on it. On the one hand, I am pleased to see that the ending is moving and not a cop-out. On the other hand, I feel the narrative is heavy-handed and very obvious (not complex and subtle as some other readers have thought.) I am also not sure that young readers (say, 12 or 13) won’t see through it all from very early on who the MONSTER is and what the final “Messages” will be. They might also question some of the details: such as, what REALLY is the purpose and reason of the school bully if not just to force some points (the invisibility and the anger.)
I think I am being super critical and very jaded about it so I am waiting to hear back from at least one such young reader to prove that for the intended audience, this book might be both sophisticated and effective. I shall update this note soon.