A Monster Calls


A Monster Calls

THE BOOK

Patrick Ness’s YA novel is about a monster. Calling. A kid.
But apparently the kid is expecting a different monster. Apparently it was based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who is also a YA writer.

WHY I PICKED IT UP

I saw it on Influenster and it sounded interesting. It’s a decent premise. It was also a YA novel without the usual vampire/rebellion/slutromance thing.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT

It was so brief, it’s hard for me to say. The voice is good. Clear. I like the imagery as well. He establishes a spooky mood. And the main character veers immediately from convention.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER

Frankly, if you’re giving a sample, make it enough to get a sense of the PLOT. At 20 pages, with almost half of that going to copyright, dedication, and introduction, there is very little to critique. And it’s not enough to get a sense of the  plot, which is essential to hook readers.
For those of you writing your own stuff and putting it out there, you HAVE to hook the reader by the end of the sample. One of the best ways to do that is to expose the plot–get that chain of cause and effect moving–tip the first domino over. The readers will want to know how the rest of them fall.

RESULT: I DIDN’T READ IT

I may change my tune on this because the sample was SO brief I couldn’t really tell whether I’d like it or not. But I’ve got better things to do with my time right now–other books, NaNoWriMo, and I’ve just discovered Dexter on Netflix.
This is what books have to compete with and it’s why your novel’s opening AND your sample need to be outstanding–they’ve got to show me why I NEED to put down all that other stuff and pick up your book.

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3 thoughts on “A Monster Calls

  1. a) Netflix kills productivity.
    b) the monster calls her? Like, dials a phone # and says, “Hi, this is Tiny.”?
    the premise sounds good enough to forgive a lot of errors.

    • Hah! Of course the call is ALWAYS coming from inside the house. There’s your hook.
      I think they mean ‘calls’ in the old-timey sense -coming to visit.
      It IS a good premise, but the sample was WAY too short to hook me or provide any real information about the book.
      Check it out if you like it, though and let me know how you find it!

      • I might. I have this thing about horror where I get horrible nightmares and lock myself in the bathroom every time my upstairs neighbor makes a noise (I swear s/he was moving furniture the night I finished Lockwood & Co, the jerkface.)

        Also, calls in the old-timey sense is not as much fun as a phone call! Maybe I’ll write that book…. 🙂

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