A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls

Written by Patrick Ness
Illustrated by Jim Kay

13+ readers   All Shortlists and Winners   Carnegie Greenaway   YA readers   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal AND 2012 Kate Greenaway Medal. This is the first time, in the Awards 75 year history, that one book has won both prizes!

Rachel Levy chair of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie judging panel said: "A Monster Calls" is an exquisite piece of writing. It is a beautifully economical, structurally brilliant and lyrically descriptive account of a challenging episode in one child's life."


Prize-winning Patrick Ness displays brilliant new skills of sensitivity in this hauntingly touching story of how a boy deals with the looming threat of his mother’s death from cancer. Haunted by a monster in his dreams, denied much information by his family and treated as a weirdo by his class mates and a ‘special case’ by his teachers, Conor struggles to get to grips with the devastating emotions which threaten to overwhelm him.

How he finds the courage and strength to face the end when it happens is both utterly shattering and deeply satisfying. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself.

Winner of the Red House Children's Book Award 2012.

Winner of the Galaxy Children's Book of the Year Award 2011

A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just 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...The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel of coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.


'exceptional.. this is storytelling as it should be - harrowing, lyrical and transcendent.' Meg Rosoff

"[It] has the thrills and ambition you would expect from the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. It's also easy to trace Dowd's influence ... an extraordinarily beautiful book" Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Guardian

"Ness, like Dowd, is a brilliant and acclaimed creator of books for older children and young adults, but the two novelists' voices, their concerns, their styles, are quite different. Many people – myself included – thought this a peculiar piece of casting. Well, shows how much I know ... 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, The Independent

"Stunningly illustrated, 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

About the Author

Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. His father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. He lived in Hawaii until he was almost six, spent the ten years after that in suburban Washington state, and then on to Los Angeles, where he studied English Literature at the University of Southern California.

His main job after graduating was as corporate writer at a cable company, writing manuals, form letters and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival (this is true). If you're American and hated your cable company, he probably wrote you a letter of apology.

He got his first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on his first novel when he moved to London in 1999. He's lived here ever since. Sometimes he teaches creative writing but mostly he tries to write 1,000 words a day, 'come hell or high water'.

In May 2008, he published The Knife of Never Letting Go, his first book for young adults. It won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize and he hasn't looked back since.

Here is an interview with Patrick Ness where he talks about his new book The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Patrick Ness

1. He has a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. He has run two marathons.
3. He is a certified scuba diver.
4. He wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. He has never been to New York City but...
6. He has been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. He got accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. He was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. He is no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will he eat onions.

Click here to read a Q&A with Patrick Ness

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


216 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Patrick Ness
More books by Patrick Ness

Author's Website



Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd February 2012




Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

I love Lovereading as it provides an honest opinion and showcases a range of fiction. Suited to both parents & kids alike, it’s a must-use.

Georgie Rowe – age 16

I think Lovereading4kids is an amazing company because of the friendly staff and the fabulous chance to read great books before publication.

Adam Graham

We love Lovereading as my 5 year old loves to read new books before anyone else has a chance, she says it makes reading exciting!

Tracey Chorley

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

Lovereading 4 schools