A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Recommended by Sian Davidson (@English_MrsD)

Form and genre: Fantasy/Gothic Novel

Length: 214 pages

Summary: Conor O’Malley is the protagonist in this equal parts heart-wrenching and uplifting fantasy novel.
The story follows a young boy who dreams each night of an oak tree that uplifts itself from the graveyard close to his house. The monster challenges Conor to listen to 3 true stories, after which he must tell a true story of his own.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Brief description of terminal illness and subsequent grief. I’d recommend this novel to Year 8.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: This is a thought-provoking – and in many ways cathartic – novel that allows students to process illness, death and grief. It also offers ample opportunities for the study of the conventions of Gothic writing.