Friday, April 3, 2015

Award-Winning Reads | A Monster Calls

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 nightmare he's had every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming . . .   

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

It wants the truth.
Image result for a monster calls patrick ness
Hello Everyone,

I've been in a bit of a somber, serious mood lately. (And no, that's not me reflecting and ruminating in the image to the right. Trust me, when I'm thinking deeply I look a lot scarier than that)! Unfortunately, there have been a couple of special people who were connected with the Tracy Library as well as people who I associated with in my congregation who passed away. I couldn't help but recall this literary treasure, which also reminded me how painful suffering loss can be.

The critically-acclaimed award winner of the week that I'm highlighting originates from across the pond. This book won, not only one, but two medals: the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals. According to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the organization which confers these medals, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are the United Kingdom's oldest and most prestigious children's book awards. Talk about a double honor!

The medals are awarded by children's librarians to books for children and young people. The Carnegie Medal is awarded for an outstanding book and The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration. Since this title won both, you can expect an excellently executed story line with equally impressive illustrations.

And the 2012 Carnegie and Greenaway Medals go to . . .

(drum roll, please)

A Monster Calls! It is written by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay.

(I know the reveal isn't as dramatic since it's included in the title of this post, but please just try to act a little surprised).

I first read this hauntingly beautiful novel as an ebook on OverDrive and was immediately drawn to Conor, a thirteen-year-old boy who was primarily cared for by his mother. Conor struggles with his feelings while watching her battle a life-threatening illness. Suddenly an unnamed monster (why are the scariest monsters usually unnamed?) begins to regularly call on him at night. Who is this titular monster? Is it real or imagined? Friend or foe? And what could it possibly want with Conor? (Hint: it's in the opening quote). 

As the story develops and builds tension, so does Conor. His pent-up frustration and helplessness in a situation far beyond his control ultimately reaches its peak and the truth he discovers about himself leads to his much-anticipated catharsis. The black and white illustrations accentuate the dark, fantastical undertones of the story. If you want to try a deeply moving read, check out this book. 

Let me leave you a line from the novel.        

Stories are wild creatures. Who knows what havoc they might wreak?
Next week, find out about two friends - one human and one unimaginary (yes,  unimaginary *ooh*)!

Until next time, have a good reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment