A Monster Calls is a heart wrenching young adult story about a boy (Conor) facing up to the prospect of his mother’s death from cancer, written by Patrick Ness based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, an author who died of cancer before she could write the story herself. I’ve read books by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd before and they’re both authors I rate highly and this story did not disappoint. A Monster Calls had an almost fairy tale like quality as a monster (the Green Man) visits Conor to tell him three stories before getting Conor to tell him a fourth story in return, a story that Conor desperately does not want to tell. The book is both simple (it’s quite short) and multi-layered at the same time, with significance woven through the story with the use of the yew tree and of the significance of stories themselves. The opening scene when the monster first appears was written so simply and because of that I found it one of the most jolting monster scenes I’d read in a book for a while, something that literally sent a chill down my spine and those shivers weren’t restricted to the opening scenes either. I can highly recommend this.