ltThere is something really special about this Patrick Ness novel, a passion project he picked up after the death of Siobhan Dowd, an author he admired. The concept of the novel is entirely hers, the execution his.
At the centre of the novel is a young boy called Connor. Connor’s mother is battling cancer and he is doing what he can to look after himself and keep life together. His father is largely out of the picture and his only other relative, his grandmother, is strange and distant.
One night he is visited by a Monster. It doesn’t look too scary – after all, it has taken the form of a Yew Tree, but it does tell some unsettling stories. In fact, it promises Connor three stories in exchange for Connor telling him one true one. If the story Connor tells is not true – he will eat him.
The stories are unsettling and difficult for Connor to understand, but each helps him deal with his situation and release the feelings he has been holding inside.
There is a thoughtful beauty about the whole concept – imagined by Dowd during her own terminal illness. Quite a good read for young adults too.