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Book Club: A Monster Calls, pages 1-22

tree at night

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, after an idea inspired by Siobhan Dowd.

Let’s get started!

“A Monster Calls”

Wow!  What an opening!  You can really see the surroundings as described in the first several pages.  You can feel the air rushing around Conor as the monster lifts him up in the air outside his bedroom window.  The descriptions are beautiful and the images in the book add so much to its magical quality.  I’ve read this book before but you have to stand in wonder at a little boy who stands in the grips of a monster and is not afraid.  It forces the reader to ask themselves, then what is he afraid of?!


This small chapter gives us a glimpse into what Conor may be frightened of.  We meet Conor in the daytime, as an independent child needing to help take care of himself while he mother deals with an illness.  Though not directly stated, based on her bald head and the mention of treatments, one can imagine that she is going through chemotherapy treatments after a cancer diagnosis.  Conor’s mom tells him that Grandma is coming to visit to help out.  Conor seems to prefer life in their house with just him and his mom to this new arrangement.

What a brave duo they have become.  Conor’s mom, living as a single mom while facing cancer and Conor, a young boy holding it all together.


Being a kid is hard.  Being a kid with a sick mother, while having some sort of yet to be define recurring nightmare, is even harder.  In this chapter we see bullies and a friend, both of whom are perceived as enemy forces by our main character, Conor.  Whatever he is battling inside, he seems to want to battle it alone.  Perhaps hoping it will then just go away.


Join in next Monday for comments and discussion on the next 20 pages of the book!

Thanks for joining us for pages 1-22 (“A Monster Calls,” “Breakfast,” and “School”) of  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness!  Join in next Monday for the next chapters of the book!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done.  If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday.  Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss.  We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end!  Join in, in the comments every week!  Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!

Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!