Published: March 12 2013
Number of pages: 224
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: dark fantasy, mystery, horror
Rating: 5/5 owl hoots
The monster shows up after midnight but it’s not the monster that Connor is expecting like the one from his nightmare he’s had everyday since his mother’s treatments. This monster is different, ancient and wild and it only wants the truth from Connor…
This story was…wow…just wow. I can’t even begin to say how brilliant the story was. It wasn’t like anything I expected. At all. Before I was one of the few people who have never read a book by Patrick Ness. I was compelled to reading one of his books after hearing praise for titles including More Than This and his recent release The Rest of Us Just Live Here. But I was drawn into this particular story after reading the synopsis which gave me the impression that it was going to be a horror/thriller story that will soon be turned into a film (as mentioned on the cover).
So to abide by the rules, I decided to read the book first before the movie comes out, but I was in for a surprise. The surprise was this isn’t a horror story; I mean there are horrifying bits about a monster that shows up after midnight to confront a boy and his nightmares, but there’s more beneath the surface. This is why I said earlier that the story wasn’t anything like I expected, which is a good thing because I do love surprises!
Connor is just your average teenage boy who is going through a really emotional time. His mother is very ill and started her treatments which is putting a lot of stress on Connor. He continues to look after her but when everyone else at school knows the truth, his classmates avoid him like the plague. It’s easy to sympathize with someone that is overcome with grief of a family or friend, but when your classmates start talking in whispers and avoid you, it can be really frustrating because you want them to stop giving you space and just have everything the way they were before. You want your best friend back, your teachers to acknowledge you in class and even your own bully to confront you. This is exactly the phase that Connor is going through and why he has such a hard time coping at school. Twice I went through what Connor is going through which is why I could relate to his character.
Then you have this mysterious monster that visits Connor every night past midnight. You think this monster would cause him trouble like all monsters do, but this one is different. This monster isn’t here to scare Connor; he’s there to confront him in telling the truth. He’s an ancient yew tree with stories to tell Connor to help him discover the cold truth he has been hiding for so long. I like to think this monster as Connor’s guide to his self-discovery and a wise storyteller in which each story he tells, teaches Connor something new about himself. In the end, I was tearing up inside because that end scene reminded me of a personal moment that happened to me, and I understood how Connor felt in the same exact scene that I went through.
This is the best book I have ever read and the illustrations went perfect with every climatical scene. I’m so glad to have finally read this and I’m really looking forward to watching the film! The lessons, the illustrations, are just too good to ignore!