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praise for A MONSTER CALLS

Winner of the Carnegie Medal Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year A Chicago Sun-Times Favorite Books of the Year Selection An American Library Association Notable Childrens Book A Publishers Weekly Best Childrens Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year A Booklist Editors Choice A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Recipient of five starred reviews Theres no denying it: this is one profoundly sad story. But its also wise, darkly funny, and brave, told in spare sentences, punctuated with fantastic images and stirring silences. New York Times Book Review Beautiful and achingly sad. The Wall Street Journal This powerful, beautifully written, and sad book is also affirming and, at times, funny. It is about the monsters that live inside us as we do our imperfect best to cope. Boston Globe Combines arresting language with a central character whose struggle becomes the readers struggle, an honest, heart-wrenching story that moved me to tears. John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Patrick Ness is an insanely beautiful writer. John Green

A MONST ER C A L LS
Pat r ic k Ne s s
Inspi r e d by a n i d ea f r o m

by

Now available ack in paperb

Siobh a n D ow d
Illu st r ati o ns by

Ji m K ay
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isnt the monster Conors been expecting hes been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare hes had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. Its ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final book idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

A lso by PATR ICK N ESS


The Knife of Never Letting Go
HC: 978-0-7636-3931-0 PB: 978-0-7636-4576-2 E-book: 978-0-7636-5216-6

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy. He has won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize, and the Costa Childrens Book Award. Born in Virginia, Patrick Ness lives in London. Siobhan Dowd spent twenty years as a human-rights campaigner before her first novel, A Swift Pure Cry, was published in 2006. She won the Carnegie Medal posthumously in 2009 after her death from breast cancer, in 2007.

The Ask and the Answer


HC: 978-0-7636-4490-1 PB: 978-0-7636-4837-4 E-book: 978-0-7636-5217-3

Monsters of Men
HC: 978-0-7636-4751-3 PB: 978-0-7636-5665-2 E-book: 978-0-7636-5211-1
Illustration 2011 by Jim Kay

A CANDLEWICK PRESS BOOK GROUP GUIDE

Discussion Questions Authors Note


I never got to meet Siobhan Dowd. I only know her the way that most of the rest of you will through her superb books. Four electric young adult novels, two published in her lifetime, two after her tooearly death. If you havent read them, remedy that oversight immediately. This would have been her fifth book. She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning. What she didnt have, unfortunately, was time. When I was asked if I would consider turning her work into a book, I hesitated. What I wouldnt do what I couldnt do was write a novel mimicking her voice. That would have been a disservice to her, to the reader, and most importantly to the story. I dont think good writing can possibly work that way. But the thing about good ideas is that they grow other ideas. Almost before I could help it, Siobhans ideas were suggesting new ones to me, and I began to feel that itch that every writer longs for: the itch to start getting words down, the itch to tell a story. I felt and feel as if Ive been handed a baton, like a particularly fine writer has given me her story and said, Go. Run with it. Make trouble. So thats what I tried to do. Along the way, I had only a single guideline: to write a book I think Siobhan would have liked. No other criteria could really matter. And now its time to hand the baton on to you. Stories dont end with the writers, however many started the race. Heres what Siobhan and I came up with. So go. Run with it. Make trouble. Patrick Ness London, February 2011 Who is the hero of the monsters first tale? Who is the villain? How does the story keep surprising Conor? What does Conor hope to learn from the story? What does he actually learn? How do the illustrations capture the tone of the novel? How do they express the range of Conors emotions? Youre a good boy, Conors mother tells him. I wish you didnt have to be quite so good (page 17). What does she mean by that? Why does Conor have to be so good? Stories are wild creatures, the monster says. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak? (page 51). What does the monster mean by this? In what ways does the rest of novel prove the monsters point? Sometimes people need to lie to themselves most of all, the monster tells Conor (page 62). Is Conor lying to himself about his mothers illness? Is his mother lying to herself? What does each of them need to believe? Why? At the very end of the novel, what does Conor say to his mother? Why must he say it? Why must she hear it? Lily was once Conors closest friend, but now he cant forgive her. Why? Is he right to feel betrayed? What would you have done in Lilys situation? Discuss the role that humor plays in this novel. Where are the best comic moments? Describe the monsters sense of humor. Would you enjoy the monsters company? Harry, the school bully, looks straight into Conors eyes and says, I no longer see you (page 145). Why is this such a cruel thing to say? How does Conor make himself impossible to miss? Conor has a recurring nightmare. When the monster demands the truth, how does it change? What is more painful to Conor than the death of his mother? Why does he need to be honest?

A CANDLEWICK PRESS BOOK GROUP GUIDE