This award-winning, uncompromising novel is a valuable read for older children struggling to understand life's unavoidable trials. * Time Out *
Powerfully felt, this is stylistically Ness's book, but communicates Dowd-like wisdom. Both realistic and magical, it is a fable about the complexity of our emotions, giving us permission to feel anger and illuminating the nature of loss. -- Nicolette Jones * The Sunday Times *
A Monster Calls takes Dowd's preliminary idea, and draws out of that bud a tale that has nothing of the hybrid about it.
Received wisdom dictates that books published for children need endings that are, if not exactly happy, then at least hopeful. A happy ending would have been a betrayal of the kind of bracingly honest book this is, but hope can be hard to come by in such a story. Here the desperate honesty and refusal to compromise do allow for a sort of brutal clarity to emerge, and from that finally a glimpse of something like hope. Brave and beautiful, full of compassion, A Monster Calls fuses the painful and insightful, the simple and profound. The result trembles with life.
-- Daniel Hahn * Independent *
Award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd died of cancer before she could write this book, but the choice of Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Trilogy) to take her idea and create this heartbreaking story was inspired. It is an intensely raw but emotionally rewarding rite-of-passage for young teenager Conor, whose divorced mum is dying of cancer.
Using folklore stories to illustrate that good and bad are all part of the whole, the tree monster drags the reluctant Conor to confront his own demons and, in doing so, to face the future. The conclusion is brave, honest and a huge release.
[...] this haunting and demanding book shines with compassion, insight and flashes of humour and is a collaboration that highlights the exceptional talents of Ness, Dowd and Kay. A worthy tribute.
-- Sally Morris * Daily Mail *
Electrifying and hugely readable, it feels like a genuine act of authorial kindness when the gut-wrenching ending conveys a glimmer of redemption. * Daily Telegraph *
definitely one of my favourite books of the year * Guardian, Malorie Blackman *
Featured in the i's piece '30 Children's and YA Books for Families to Enjoy During Lockdown'. * i *