Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: review

13477676Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 13th 2013
Synopsis: In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I’m sorry I couldn’t be more than I was—that I couldn’t stick around—and that what’s going to happen today isn’t their fault.

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My Thoughts:

Forgive Me, Leonard is an emotional story that deals with some very, very tough issues (male rape, bullying, depression) with skill and will also cause your emotions to keep bubbling up inside you. This book  will hit you hard, make you feel, and keep you reading with the wish that everything will turn out okay. I might have just bought this book because of the snazzy-looking cover, but I got so much more than that.

On his birthday, Leonard Peacock plans to kill his former best friend and then himself with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But before that, Leonard wants to says good-bye to the four people who matter to him: His neighbor who is obsessed with Humphrey Bogart, Walt; Baback, a boy who is a master at the violin; the homeschooled girl who is a devoted Christian, Lauren; and his favorite teacher, Herr Silverman. And as Leonard goes through the day, trying to say his good-byes, his secrets and reasons for wanting to kill someone are revealed.

Leonard’s story is undeniably sad. His parents aren’t around, his classmates think of him as a freak, and nobody, except for a few people, seems to even care about the sad situation he’s in. Youth is something that is supposed to be sacred and enjoyed, but all Leonard can think about is how miserable the adults he watches at the train station look and that maybe life just isn’t worth getting through if it just means that it will lead to more unhappiness.

It’s all just very sad, but these kind of stories need to be told, and Quick writes Leonard’s story clearly and with honesty. The serious issues that appear in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock are written about in a straight-forward way and were never downplayed. I really felt as if Quick did the best he could do with handling the issues that he wrote about. And boy, don’t even get me started on how emotional this book was. Even the little things that Quick inserts into his story, like the letters from the future (which were done extremely well and in an interesting way), are well-placed and only makes things more emotional.

Leonard’s character and voice was brilliantly executed. Instead of just seeing a kid hiding a gun in his backpack, you see a poor boy who has been through so much with no help, that he was pushed over the edge. Murder is a terrible crime, a crime that has permanent effects and causes a lot of pain, and writing a character who is planning on sending a bullet through someone’s head requires a lot of thought, effort, and a whole lot of skill. And I think that Quick was able to meet all three of those requirements with Leonard’s character.

The prose was… It was very honest. Emotions, dialogue, thoughts. They never felt forced nor did they feel like they were just there without a purpose. There were also lots of footnotes that showed Leonard’s thoughts and I think that those notes really succeeded in showing more of Leonard’s personality. At first, I found it a little distracting to have to look away from the paragraph I was reading and read a footnote, but I quickly got used to it. I also really loved the letters from the future. They added so much to the story, those letters.

I only have one quibble: the ending. I don’t find much appeal in open endings. I have found some novels that have open endings that I like, but that is rare, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock had an open ending I was not a fan of. Yes, it gave me a feeling of hope, but it was way to abrupt. I wanted more out of the ending.

Quick has written a great book that has a lot of impact. It might be shorter than the average full-length novel, but it sure does have an intense, emotional, powerful, and gritty story. I could easily empathize with Leonard and I really cared for him. So, even if the ending was to abrupt for my taste, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is an amazing book.


The Sunday Post(15)

the sunday post

The first week of school happened, guys. And it was pretty awesome 🙂 I was able to meet a lot of new people and was also able to become friends with people who I was only acquaintances with in the past. Also, my new teachers are extremely entertaining. One is absolutely obsessed with moustaches, another is very talkative and outgoing, and another seems to like teasing her students. Those teachers really do make the day go by fast 😛 The only thing that sucks is all the homework.

I haven’t been able to comment on my friends’ blogs very much, though. It makes me sad. But please now that I am definitely reading your post! I will be sure to dedicate more time to commenting next week.




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Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark: review

FreakboyFreakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Stand Alone
My Rating: 
4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: October 22nd 2013
Synopsis: From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

In razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.

My Thoughts:

Freakboy is the first Young Adult novel that I have read that properly addresses transexuality. And, while I am not going to pretend to know a lot about the subject, I do think that Clark did a great job at writing and portraying transexuality. Her characters are well-written and she obviously put a lot of thought into her story. This book also happens to be the first verse novel I have read in a long, long time, and even though verse novels aren’t really my thing, I have to admit that I thought the verse to be lovely and loved Freakboy even more for it.

Things I Loved:

* The reason why this story was written. In the first pages of Freakboy, Clark writes, “to every Freakboy and Freakgirl out there. You are not a freak. And you are not alone.” My heart melted a little when I read this. By reading those three sentences, I was immediately able to tell that Clark wrote this book because she genuinely wants to help, that she wrote this book for the people out there who feel like they aren’t in the right body. I know that the intention behind the story might not impact the story of it, but I just find it to be touching enough to not care.

*The emotion. Freakboy was a very emotional story that had some moments where I was on the receiving end on a powerful emotion-face-punch. Whether something sad or happy was happening in the story, Clark made me feel every emotion vividly.

* The characters. I thought Clark’s characters to be very well done. Their problems felt real enough that it actually hurt me a little when something bad happened to them (and, of course, my heart soared when something good happened to them). Brendan, Angel, and Vanessa are all archetypes but Clark was able to bring life to them. She was able to make Brendan, the person who felt miserable and freakish because of his sexual identity, Angel, the person who has already fully embraced who she is and going forward in life, and Vanessa, the girl who has devoted herself to Brendan so much so that he is basically her world and is struggling to accept what he wants to be, feel almost tangible.

* The multiple point of views were wonderfully done. Getting into each of the characters’ heads and seeing the world through each of their eyes really added to the story. I do wish that Angel and Vanessa (I know that Vanessa will probably get a lot of hate but I was very interested in her story) had more entries in the book, but that is only a small wish, as what Freakboy did with the multiple POVs is already great.

* The verse. It was lovely and exceptionally executed. I can’t even imagine Freakboy being told in any other form of writing. I didn’t expect to love the verse as much as I do.

Things that were so-so:

* The instances when Clark chose to shape her words into somewhat of a visual form. I do love the verse prose as a whole, but the shaping words into fireworks were a little distracting and could be annoying.

*Freakboy is very open-ended. Which I didn’t exactly like. I wanted more resolution, wanted to see what the characters made of themselves. The story does end with a hopeful and uplifting note so I didn’t hate it, but I wanted more.

Things that I disliked:

* Nothing, really.

Freakboy is a brave and powerful debut and is such of an important book. I can really see this book helping people accept themselves and also helping people learn to be more accepting. The book does have its flaws, but it is a gem and I highly recommend it!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: review

19063The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Stand Alone
My Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 14th 2006
Synopsis: The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My Thoughts:

I’m writing this review in the middle of the night (I wonder what colors Death would be seeing right now…) and with tear-stained cheeks and with the last line of The Book Thief echoing in my mind: “I am haunted by humans.” A last line that is as ironic as it is powerful. I was struck speechless by that line, but now that I have recovered a bit, I can say with all the sureness in the world that I am haunted, and will probably keep being haunted for a very, very long time, by The Book Thief.

Now, I assure you that being haunted by The Book Thief is a burden that is as heavy as it is to being haunted by the entire human race, but being haunted by the memory of this masterpiece of a book can be a little wrenching. (Though, it can also be a whole lot rewarding. In fact, I urge you to go read this book and get haunted by it!) The characters and their struggles and their triumphs will stay with you, the narrator and his melancholy and his exhaustion will stay with you, all the emotions that you experienced awhile reading the book will stay with you, and the story, which is brilliantly and intelligently told, will stay with you.

The perfect choice of narrator is the part of The Book Thief that immediately made my heart get tied up by the story. Death is an ironic being, haunted by humans and exhausted from watching them tear one another down, even when humans are the ones believing themselves to be haunted by Death. This ironic being is an incredible narrator who perfectly fits the story. Death’s narration had me engaged at the very first page and told a story that could only be told in a way that Death could tell it. And really, I couldn’t help but be lulled and comforted by his words.

eightbullets:The Book Thief, Mark Zusak.

Death’s story is about Liesel Meminger, a German girl with a love for words so strong that she is willing to steal the books where they reside, and her life during a time of war. Liesel is a strong child who observes and looks at the world with wonder. She is the one whose story is told in The Book Thief. But, since Liesel meets many people over the course of her childhood, other characters do get caught up in her story. Liesel’s cigarette-smoking and accordion player foster father named Hans, foul-mouthed and tough foster mother named Rosa, adventurous and daring best friend named Rudy, the fist-fighter Jew hiding in their basement named Max, the mayor’s quiet wife, and many of the other people living on Himmel Street.

Liesel’s relationships with these characters and the characters themselves are complex and intricately written. Every interaction is important and is tied into the story with skill. I especially loved Liesel’s strong friendships with Rudy and Max and her caring relationship with her foster father. Rudy and Liesel were an amazing pair and their eventual love story was pure, innocent, powerful, and painful. Chasing books down rivers and stealing food were never made so sweet. Max and Liesel’s friendship was beautiful and full of impact. The painting of images on the basement walls and exchanging of stories stories squeezed my heart. The daughter-father relationship between Liesel and Hans was lovely. The parts of the book in which the two rolled cigarettes and listened to the accordion were some of the greatest parts of the novel for me.

The prose in The Book Thief is experimental and unique, and I absolutely loved it. Death’s way of describing things, specifically the weather and colors, was gorgeous and really added to the already melancholy atmosphere of the book. Emotions were flawlessly sketches with words. Zusak’s writing in this book is superb.

“The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places, it burned. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked across the redness.”

One last thing that I think should absolutely must be said: The Book Thief isn’t about the suffering the Jew’s had to endure during the time where Hitler ruled. The Book Thief focuses on the lives of the Germans, which I think was an excellent decision for Zusak to make. Readers get the opportunity to see how people couldn’t go against Hitler’s beliefs without being beaten to the ground and how morality was a complicated thing back then and that many people were just doing what they could to get by, without anything being preached to them. Zusak doesn’t tell you what to think, he merely shows you what happened.

The Book Thief is an unforgettable piece of literature that, like I have said in the first paragraph of this review, will haunt me. Zusak said in an interview (that I really recommend you watch) that he didn’t set out to write a Young Adult book, he set out to write someone’s favorite book. I reply to his saying that with this: Markus Zusak, you have written a favorite book of mine.

*Images were found on I Am Haunted By Humans, a Tumblr site dedicated to this book.

orange Vol.1-2 by Ichigo Takano: review

orangeorange Vol.1-2 by Ichigo Takano
Series: orange #1-2
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Shojo
Synopsis: In the Spring she was 16, Takamiya Naho receives a strange, but detailed letter from herself, ten years in the future. At first she thinks the letter is a prank, but then the things written in the letter actually happen, including the new transfer student that sits next to her in class, Naruse Kakeru.
The letter reads just like her diary entries, down to the same characters. It is not till two weeks later, when Kakeru shows back up at school, that Naho finishes the letter.

In the letter, her 27-year-old self tells her 16-year-old self that her biggest regret is that Kakeru is no longer with them in the future, and asks her to watch him closely.

My Thoughts:

The shojo genre is a great big ocean filled with manga. Some of those manga are like Kimi ni Todoke that breathes new life into the typical shojo love story and much of those manga are pretty unoriginal (but can still be fun). Orange is one of the former. It has such of a wonderful story with just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness. Actually, now that I look at the title, I guess it could be said that the story contains the same sweet and bitterness that can be found in an orange 🙂

Orange starts off with a girl named Naho receiving a letter from her future self, telling her that she has many regrets and that the one eating her the most is that Kakeru will not be with them in ten years. As Naho reads on, she finds predictions of events that will happen in the future and also some instructions to follow. Naho has a trouble believing that the letter is not part of some sort of prank, but slowly begins to believe in it after she finds out that the events that the letter said will happen actually do happen, including an event involving a boy named Kakeru transfering into her school.

Naho then starts trying her best to follow the letters instructions, though she is still a bit confused, and watches Kakeru closely. What follows is a memorable bittersweet story about a girl becoming more honest with her feelings, trying to stop a tragedy from happening, and maybe even falling in love a little on the way.

I think that one of the best aspects of this manga is that it so easily shifts from sweet with sad undertones to sweetness mixed with sadness. In the beginning the story has a sweet and delicate feel that made me just fall absolutely in love with it.

And then, only a few chapters in, orange hits you with some pretty sad stuff that made me tear up a little, even though I only knew the characters for only a short time. Really, the regrets that the future Naho holds inside her and the accident (that turns out to not be an accident: he committed suicide) that took Kakeru away is heatbreaking. But the story does still keep much of its sweetness and even adds in a heck of a lot of hope. Which means I was almost shaking because of all the emotions inside me.

The characters are also wonderful. Naho is a fine character that changes in subtle ways throughout the story. Her blunders are a little annoying but are understandable and I genuinely admire her for how kind she is. I can’t wait to see further development in her in the next chapters. Naho’s group of friends are very fun and have such differing personalities. I especially love Suwa. He is a great character and good friend.

Kakeru is, well, he’s a sweet boy. It really tugs on ones emotions when such a sweet kid has to go through such saddening things. I don’t think that I have got a complete picture of his character, though. But I think I can forgive this since only two complete volumes of orange are out. Also, I just really, really love reading about his relationship with Naho. Their friendship and blossoming love is so sweet.

The only complaint I have about the characters is the unnecessary mean girl character.

Run away, Sawako. RUN AWAY!

Ueda doesn’t have any purpose at all in the first two volumes (I say “in the first two volumes” only because she might have more of a role in future volumes) other than to bully Naho and cause drama. She doesn’t cause as much trouble as some of the typical mean girl characters in shojo manga, and she is normally caught before she does permanent damage, but it is still so irritating to see such of a refreshing manga use such of a boring trope.

Ichigo’s art is lovely and delicate. Her characters are drawn lovely and each expression on their faces clearly shows what they are feeling. If you want see some of her work just check out this tumblr site that is dedicated to the manga.

Orange is a manga that I really do love, and I can’t wait to read more of it. There are so many ways that the story could go and so many ways the characters could grow and develop. Unfortunately, the series is on hiatus. Ichigo has said that she will come back to orange and I hope she comes back soon. She has thought up a truly wonderful story that I can’t wait to continue reading again.

Oh, and thank you, Sawako, for guest starring in this review. Now that it is over, please run back to your own manga and do some cute stuff with your boyfriend 😉

Should I have not said that? Oh well.

Suicide Watch by Kelley York: review

16240541Suicide Watch by Kelley York
Stand Alone
Age Group: 
Mature Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBT
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 20th 2012
Synopsis: 18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.

But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn’t going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he’s starting to think she had the right idea.

Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn’t even notice.

As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie’s guidance, coming to terms with Casper’s imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn’t plan on sticking around.

My Thoughts:

Warning: There is sort of a spoiler in this review. I say sort of since the synopsis makes it quite obvious it will happen.

When I finished reading Hushed by Kelley York, I knew that I absolutely needed to read another one of her works. Then came the day where I found Suicide Watch and bought it and eventually read it. And wow. This author has done it again. In just over two hundred pages, Kelley York made me love her characters, cry for them, and then feel hopeful for them and their futures.

Vincent Hazelwood’s life wasn’t exactly a nice one. Being sent to one foster home after the next, failing to make friends because of his break downs and changing moods. Until he was adopted by Maggie, a strong lady who was determined to help Vincent get his life together. She was his reason to try hard.

And then, on the day of Vincent’s graduation, Maggie dies of a heart attack, leaving Vincent completely alone. Vincent then starts to sink back into himself, reflecting on the day he witnessed a girl throw herself off a bridge and wondering if she was right to do that. During this time, Vincent comes across Suicide Watch, a pro-suicide forum and meets two people through it: Casper, a girl who wants to kill herself before the cancer inside her does, and Adam, a quiet boy who believes his mother wouldn’t notice if he died. These three people begin to bond with each other and also learn from each other.

The characters are the driving force of Suicide Watch. Vincent is a sad character that gave me the same vibes Archer from Hushed did: he gave off a feeling of loneliness. He’s introverted and has trouble creating relationships, though he wants to, and has times where his sadness consumes him, sometimes having to take pills when it becomes to much. I felt very sad for this character and cared greatly for him, constantly wishing for a good ending for him throughout the book.

Casper and Adam were also amazing characters. I loved Casper and her energy and determination to live what’s left of her life as best as she could. Her death made me cry buckets and really made me feel like there was something missing from my heart. The quiet, music-loving Adam felt very real and, while I didn’t find him to be as memorable as Casper, his character had impact.

York writes these characters with depth, and even with only just over two hundred pages, develops them as much as many longer YA novels do. Maybe even more. Their feelings never felt downplayed and were portrayed in a sensitive way. And the bond that the three were able to forge between each other was touching and well-written.

I appreciate that York makes it a point to show that a person’s situation doesn’t matter, that it’s the feelings that do. Sometimes a person feels very sad, though their situation isn’t the worst, and I liked that York addressed this fact.

“It doesn’t matter if it could be worse, because even those people living on the street could still say ‘it’s not as bad as it could be.’ You still feel the pain. It still matters. All this means nothing unless you have people around who understand you. People who get that, sometimes, you’re just…really, really fucking sad and it’s for no reason at all. Then you get pissed off ’cause you realize you’re upset without a good reason, and you feel even worse.” 

If there was anything that Suicide Watch lacked, I would say that it was a well-paced resolution. I loved the ray of hope that comes in the end, but the last couple of chapters felt rushed. Adding another fifty pages could have easily solve this problem.

Suicide Watch is a short emotional novel that I don’t think anyone should missed out on (it’s only 1.99$ on the Amazon Kindle store!). York really has a knack for write dark contemporary that pack an emotional punch. Fans of Hushed should also check this out. (I actually think that Suicide Watch is the better of the two great stories.)

The Sunday Post(14)

the sunday post

I’m a officially back from vacation, everyone! It was so much fun being able to go to Disney World. My family and I also got to visit Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and (half of) Universal Studios 😀 The whole vacation was simply fantastic! I might do somewhat of a recap post so I can remember everything later this month…

Oh, and guess what? Summer is almost over! I will have to start going to school again (bleh) next week. Everything is a bit busy for me because I absolutely insist on going clothes shopping, calling all my friends and comparing schedules, and getting a new hair cut (I grew my hair way to long this summer break). Wish me luck (I’m gonna need it)!


8621462Game (Jasper Dent, #2)A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)The Miseducation of Cameron PostSecond ImpactKamikaze Girls Suicide Notesおやすみプンプン 1

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: review

8621462A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Stand Alone
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Synopsis: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My Thoughts:

The monster in A Monster Calls says that stories chase and bite and hunt, and can wreak havoc when they run loose. Which is completely true. Stories can fill you up with all kinds of feelings, can inspire you, and stay with you. And A Monster Calls, the story where the monster resides in, is a perfect example of this.

“Stories are the wildest things of all. Stories chase and bite and hunt.” 

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” 

Conor O’Malley, a young boy who has to deal with his mother being afflicted with cancer and going through treatments, a father that lives in America and has a new family, and a school full of kids who don’t see him, has nightmares come with screaming and darkness. Until one night, after midnight, the yew tree takes the form of a wild and ancient monster and starts to walk. Conor tries to believe that the monster is just another one of his nightmares, even though evidence of the monster’s visits always appears on the floors when he wakes up. The monster wants a dangerous thing from Conor: the truth.

Conor is an endearing character that I adored. Staying by his side throughout the story, seeing and understanding his anger and sadness and confusion, was a truly wrenching thing to do, but I felt a strong love for Conor and his story that compelled me to not only read his story but also savor and reflect on it. You really don’t come across such well-written and honest characters that make you do that very often.

I found the presence of the fantastical and strange being that is the monster to be very comforting, surprisingly. I find it hard to explain so forgive me if my explanation of it is sort of useless. The monster is haunting, wild, and dangerous, but it felt like something to cling to. The monster’s stories that seem to capture the different parts of the nature of humanity, the way it seems to accept everything in the world as it is, and even how it spoke. I just found all these parts of the monster to be very comforting. And for me, that is what made the monster such of a unforgettable character.

The supporting characters should also be talked about in this review, I believe, because they are all so very important to the story. If even only one of them was absent, this book would not have felt as complete as it does now. Conor’s mother, Conor’s grandmother, Conor’s father, Lily, and even the bullies at Conor’s school. These characters are all so very important and many of them, like Conor’s mother, will linger inside your mind.

Patrick Ness’ portrayal of grief, loss, and the burdens they can be is flawless, and even brought me to tears. Really, the author wrote human emotions with care and skill. A Monster Calls doesn’t forcefully shove in sadness or any other emotion just to make the reader feel something, the book lets the emotions come naturally, which only makes the story have more impact.

The illustrations and prose fit into the mood and tone of A Monster Calls. Ness’ words flow and never stray from the important things. Jim Kay’s illustrations are intricate, using many things, including beetles and breadboards, to create the pieces of art, and capture the essence of the story perfectly. (Please scroll down to the bottom of this review to see a couple of the illustrations.)

The ending of this beautiful book is sad and made tears form in the corner of my eyes and fall down my cheeks, and it is an ending that will be reread over and over by me. I can’t imagine a better way to end a story like this one.

A Monster Calls is a beauty of a book that is inventive and just oh so incredible. Ness will make you fall in love with everything about A Monster Calls: the story, it’s gorgeous prose, the emotion, the illustrations, the characters, and the sad but beautiful ending. I fully believe that everyone should read this book, especially those who have experienced any kind of grief or loss.

One more thing: Siobhan Dowd created the story of A Monster Calls and its characters, but sadly died from breast cancer before she was able to complete the story. Knowing this fact only makes reading A Monster Calls a more emotional experience, trust me.


Illustration from A Monster Calls

Illustration from A Monster Calls