13 year old Conor has been having the nightmare ever since his mother first got sick. He’s been having the same nightmare every night, through all her treatments, through all hope come and gone. So when the monster shows up one night, just after midnight, Conor is not surprised. However, it isn’t the monster he has been expecting. This is a different kind of monster, one who insists on telling him three stories and warns Conor that once he has told all three, Conor will have to share his story. And although this monster doesn’t scare him, Conor is very afraid of the prospect of having to put to words that which he has not allowed himself to acknowledge for so long. No amount of keeping to himself and anger will protect Conor from having to face the truth. The monster will make him…
This is a wonderful, sad and very powerful story. A story about illness, loss, fear and frustration. The story of a young boy facing the worst thing that could happen to him and not really being able to acknowledge or deal with it. A story given extra poignancy by the fact that when Siobhan Dowd came up with the idea and the characters she herself must have known that she was losing her battle to live.
Patrick Ness has turned Dowd’s idea into a thrilling story that will captivate young teenagers and adults alike. He has turned it into a story that shows that there are different levels of grieving, different ways of coping with loss but only one way to find peace. In order to find peace you have to face the truth.
“The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. (…) Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
“You do not write your life with words, the monster said. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”