Published: May 5, 2011 by Walker Books
Summary from Goodreads:
The monster showed up 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…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness has woven such a beautiful and poignant story about loss and truth and coping with pain. It will sweep you away for a few hours and never fully return you because it will steal tiny fragments of your heart. I couldn't help but hurt on Conor's behalf. He's dealing with a lot of painful circumstances that no child his age (I'm pretty sure he's like 13) should have to deal with, and it has forced him to grow up much too soon and he has kind of lost himself somewhere along the way. So of course I became very emotionally invested in him, and truly enjoyed his story arc & where Ness left his character in the end. Also, it's important to note that he could be super sassy and hilarious at times which was just truly wonderful.
The monster is an interesting aspect of this novel, in terms of characterization and what he represents, but I don't want to say too much about him because I don't want to give too much away. But this monster is different than any of the other monsters you will find in YA/MG literature and really helps set this book apart from others. I also adored the stories he told within the stories and the way he interacted with Conor.
This book is about emotion. By the end of this novel, I was sobbing. Ness brings so many memories and fears to the surface that it is impossible to not be overwhelmed by emotion. This is a quick read, but it definitely hits you where it hurts. I seriously think everyone would be able to enjoy this story and take something away from it, no matter how old you are or what walks of life you come from. Unfortunately, I bought the movie tie-in edition and that does not come with the illustrations that are in the original version of the book, which makes me so upset. I do think illustrations would have given this book completely new life, so I recommend not getting the movie tie-in.
I'm definitely going to be picking up more books from Patrick Ness now, and I'm really looking forward to the movie. I know this is the type of book that the film studio is going to have to take various creative liberties with, and I'm interested to see how they bring this book to life.