When A Monster Calls for Conor it is not the monster he has been expecting. Conor has a lot going on, his mother has been battling cancer for months, this has singled him out to be picked on and treated differently at school, and now he has a monster (taking the form from the yew tree in his backyard) coming to him just after midnight to tell him stories. The monster’s stories always sound like folktales, with your typical hero and villain, but they never end how they’re supposed to, and who is truly villainous and good is never so cut and dry. The monster is here to force Conor to face truth about his mother and himself and the real monster that Conor has been waiting for.
Ness’s book isn’t really about monsters or things that go bump in the night, but harsh and heartbreaking realities of life, realizing that “good” and “bad” aren’t so easily definable, and that seemingly contradicting things can both be true. A novel that interweaves superb storytelling with raw emotion and denial.