Skip to content

Book Club: A Monster Calls, pages 23-43


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.  Catch up on pages 1-22.

Let’s get started!

“Life Writing”

In this chapter, we meet the monster again.  And in plain daylight, looking back at Conor from the yew tree.  We also learn of how his friend Lily “changed the whole world in a single day.”  You have to feel for Conor…his mom is sick, his childhood friend finds out, and then the whole school knew about it.  It must have forced Conor to need to face his Mom’s illness in every face, every glance, every moment.

“Three Stories”

We meet the monster in closer proximity in this chapter.  He is big and tall and powerful to young Conor.  To him, the monster’s arms were “so wide they seemed big enough to encompass the world.”  We also learn why the monster has come.  He will tell Conor three stories because “stories are the wildest things of all…stories chase and bite and hunt.”  Oh my goodness, I love the writing in this book.  It is beautiful and poetic and carries such meaning in so few words.  The monster tells Conor that he will be the one telling the monter the last story and if he does not, the monter will “eat him alive.”  What an apt metaphor for holding secrets and shame inside of us, refusing to allow another in.


Conor’s grandma seems to be, from Conor’s description, much like her house.  “…filled with expensive old things you could never touch.”  She doesn’t seem to be able to relate to Conor as he needs and she represents a brand new life, where Conor and his mom are no longer in charge of their little life together.


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

Thanks for joining us for pages 23-43 (“Life Writing,” “Three Stories,” and “Grandma”) 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!