Things are not going well for Conor O’Malley. He has a recurring nightmare, and he is going out of his mind with stress, grief, and fear. When an honest-to-god monster shows up at his window, he is disappointed. It wasn’t the monster he expected. However, the monster is on a mission, and it will fulfill it.
This short book (just over 200 pages) is extremely moving. Patrick Ness weaves a deceivingly simple and intriguing narrative. The prose is simple, yet it conveys so much; I felt a lot for Conner, even though I have never precisely gone through his situation. I also liked how Ness conveyed the gray areas of the situation; he also takes the reader through Conor’s emotional journey very well. I loved the characterization of the monster–it was delightfully ambiguous and really did well conveying Conor’s pain and gradual understanding. Another of the many strengths of this book was the illustrations. They are black and white and wonderfully rendered and complement the story superbly. I wish I could draw half as well as the illustrator, Jim Kay. I loved this book and highly recommend it.