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A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay

This book is difficult for me to review. Not because it wasn't good. It was a good story and it was well written. Unfortunately, I'm conflicted about the content. While I felt a great connection with Conor, every adult in the story was a huge disappointment.

First the dad, or sperm donor, as I prefer to call him. He is a sorry excuse for a man and a human being. He makes lame excuses for his lack of involvement in his son's life. He lets his new wife dictate the terms of their relationship. She tells her husband he must come home when his son needs him the most. Sperm donor and his wife are the most selfish, self-absorbed creatures I've seen in a while.

Then, there's Conor's mother. Working in healthcare, I see this more than I should. Just because a child, or spouse, or other loved one, knows the truth deep down, doesn't mean it's OK to lie about it. The child needs to talk, and in my opinion, needs to hear the truth from adults. And in the end, the child/person you are trying to protect will find out the truth anyway and will be understandably angry at the deceit. It doesn't make any sense to lie.

Of all the bad adults, the grandmother is the one I like the most. She is hard to get along with, and is clueless about young boys, but at least you know she gives half a crap about Conor.

There were two things I really liked about this book. I like the whole part about being invisible and Conor not wanting special treatment. He wants to be punished for beating the snot out of Harry, because that would be normal. He wants things to go back to normal, even if that means losing his mom. Such a real emotion and a real truth.

Finally, I love the yew tree. I love the stories it tells and the lessons it teaches. The tree is the only thing in the book that didn't let Conor down.