Sept 24-Oct 2, 2016
I began this book knowing very little. It was simply recommended to me by a friend and fellow book-lover. All he told me was that it was heart breaking; be prepared to sob at the end. So I steeled myself and read A Monster Calls in one week. I typically try to read only current releases because there's just not enough time and so many great new books that if it's over two years old, I tell myself I've missed the boat. But with strong influence from my trusted pal, I jumped.
This is heavy, heavy reading for young adults. Even for not-so-young adults. While it won about a jillion awards, I kept trying to decide if it would be a book I could recommend to my 11-year old niece (it's intended for ages 12-17, but of course my niece is brilliant and could easily comprehend this story). The final consensus though was that I cannot. It's just too sad. The best part about reading is escaping reality, and a book centered around a child whose mother is dying of cancer, is just too real. Not that the message wasn't wonderful – it was.
Ness masterfully wove a narrative about coping, strength and simply "letting go." The metaphor of the yew tree was perfect. I think because I was warned about the emotional ending, I was better prepared, so I didn't cry. I didn't let myself get overly invested. I'd say that anyone over 15 will connect with this book.
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