A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.”

What a fantastic first line, right? I’ve spent a good thirty minutes staring at wordpress and wondering how I will be able to successfully put into words how much I loved this novel. There is something wonderfully poignant about it, real and authentic, painful and honest, and while I’m not sure I’ll be able to articulate it, I’ll try my hardest.

Thirteen-year-old Conor lives with his mother who is slowly losing a battle with cancer. He’s had nightmares since her treatments began, and when the monster arrives, Conor expects it to be the one from his dreams. But this monster is different. He is the ancient yew tree in Conor’s yard, come to life, and he wants to tell Conor three stories. And then, the monster wants Conor to tell a fourth; he wants the truth.

The three stories the monster tells read like fairy tales gone wrong, and Conor struggles to accept the darkness in them, much like he struggles to accept the darkness in his actual life. He is bullied at school, his grandmother is seemingly unsympathetic to his current situation, his father has disappeared to America to start a new family with a new wife. This is a novel full of heartbreaking but powerful moments. The more time Conor spends with the monster, the more he is able to be honest with himself and understand his own feelings in the wake of his mother’s illness. He is angry and lonely and wild and furious and maybe that is absolutely okay.

This novel is marketed as MG (I believe…I could be wrong), but it is one of those novels with such deeply moving undertones that I think it can touch almost any age group. And the illustrations! While Ness’s words alone are beautiful, the illustrations by Jim Kay are so strikingly perfect, it is almost like they came first and the words, second. Together, the mood is pitch-perfect.

This book is haunting, and moving, and full of honesty. I had to break out my tissues, but it was worth every tear shed. And because I want you to read it as well, we’re going to give away one copy of A MONSTER CALLS here and now! (We’re also throwing in an arc of Dan Well’s PARTIALS because us Pub Crawl girls are nice like that.)

All you have to do is leave a comment, telling about your favorite illustrated novel. Then, fill out the form below! The contest is open for US/Canada, and we’ll contact the winner a week from now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

116 Responses to A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. Sooz Jan 23 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Oh wow, what a great review, Erin. A MONSTER CALLS has been on my TBR list, but I think I might have to bump it up (if I have the emotional stamina, that is…and a box of tissues in the house).

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 8:25 am #

      AMC sat on my TBR list for awhile too! I’d heard so many people raving about it, but I just kept putting it off. I finally picked it up between two very thick novels, wanting a light read. Well, it’s light in terms of being quick, but yes — have emotional stamina and tissues nearby! So much depth to this book. It is simply beautiful!!

  2. Nhi Jan 23 2012 at 6:05 am #

    I think that’s a pretty hard – because I tend to just read novels or picture book (yeah I still read those, why is anyone surprised? :D). But I think I’d have to pick between The Witches/The Twits by Ronald Dahl and the A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket. I’m so sorry, it’s just that hard to pick!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Yeah, the illustrated novel is a rare bread. I recently read WHY WE BROKE UP (which sports illustrations alongside the text) and that was really interesting. I looooove THE WITCHES! Great pick. ASoUE is great too. And don’t worry — I understand the inability to pick just one favorite 😉

  3. Emy Shin Jan 23 2012 at 7:17 am #

    This sounds like a very poignant and wonderful book. I hadn’t heard of it before now, but it’s definitely going on my TBR list.

    I’m not sure this counts — but there are illustrations, depending on which edition you have, so THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 8:29 am #

      Emy! My mother read me one of those illustrated versions of THE SECRET GARDEN when I was a child. Love that novel, and it was extra magical with the visuals — ivy and roses and the estate! So great 🙂

  4. Alyssa Jan 23 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I will definitely have to check this book out! I’ve added it to my to-read list. Those illustrations by Jim Kay are beautiful. There’s so much atmosphere and feeling in them.

    I always loved the illustrations by Quentin Blake in all of Roald Dahl’s books. They seemed to fit the tone and style of his books perfectly. Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are perfect too. They scared me more than the stories themselves when I was a kid. 😛

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Yes, the illustrations for Roald Dahl’s books were always spot-on! So fitting for the tone (which is absolutely true for Kay’s illustrations in A MONSTER CALLS as well)! I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading 🙂

  5. savannahjfoley Jan 23 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I loved this book. I absolutely cried at the end.

  6. Meagan Spooner Jan 23 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I second what everyone’s said about the illustrations in Roald Dahl’s books. My favorites were always The BFG and Matilda–that drawing of Matilda’s eyes staring out of her head as she moves stuff around? Still with me today even though I haven’t read that book in over ten years!

    I also feel that Coraline by Neil Gaiman just would NOT be what it is without Dave McKean’s illustrations. And it’s also a great example of how single, still illustrations and text can be far more evocative and creepy than fully animated video. The movie was fun, but in my opinion, nowhere near as scary as the book!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:50 am #

      Coraline! A great example of how powerful imagery can be when its mood matches the novel’s!

  7. Vivien Jan 23 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I just finished Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard….loved the illustrations she did in that book. I will be buying myself a finished copy. Loved it!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:50 am #

      Ooh, I’d heard about the illustrations Kirsten was including in the novel! I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I’m anxious to take a peek!

  8. Vanessa Di Gregorio
    Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 23 2012 at 10:20 am #

    YES! ONE OF MY FAVE BOOKS of 2011! Honestly, this book was beautifully written and heartbreaking and horrifying and lovely, all at once! I bawled my EYES out reading it!

    Patrick Ness has quickly become a fave author of mine – I think EVERYONE should read his stuff!

    FANTASTIC recommendation, Erin! <3

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks, Vanessa! I definitely shed some tears by the end. Such a gorgeous, honest, moving story! And man, those illustrations!

  9. Julie
    Julie Jan 23 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks for the recommendation, Erin. So many people have had such wonderful things to say about this book! I will definitely add it to my TBR list. 🙂

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Julie, you will love it!! It was recommended to me by a handful of people and I kept putting it off. I don’t know why I waited so long!

  10. Erica O'Rourke Jan 23 2012 at 10:22 am #

    A Monster Calls sounds heartbreakingly awesome. I will definitely be reading…and definitely keeping a box of kleenex nearby.

    My favorite illustrated novel…I don’t know if this is a novel as much as a picture/pop-up book for grownups, but I really love Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series. There’s something about opening up the envelopes and pulling out the letters that is absolutely delightful, and they’re just cryptic enough to build suspense without becoming frustrating.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Erica, definitely have tissues nearby! I don’t know Bantock’s work, but now I’m anxious to check it out!! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  11. Sarah Jan 23 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Super awesome giveway! Thanks so much.

    I think my favorite novel with illustration would be The Chronicles of Narnia. 😀

  12. Katelyn Larson Jan 23 2012 at 10:28 am #

    I’m struggling to think of many books I’ve read with illustrations… I guess I’d have to say LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfield, in part because it’s the only one I can think of and in part because the illustrations are awesome. 🙂

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:54 am #

      I still haven’t read the LEVIATHAN series — shame on me — but I’ve heard so many good things about it!

    • Caitlin Vanasse Jan 23 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      I’m with you, it’s difficult to think of many illustrated novels I’ve read (as opposed to graphic novels, which I devour) but the Leviathan trilogy was excellent and the totally gorgeous illustrations added so much. I can’t wait for the manual of aeronautics to be published.

  13. Lori M Lee Jan 23 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Not illustrations, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children just wouldn’t have been the same without the haunting photographs 🙂

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Ohmygoodness, yes! The creepy photographs made that book so much more awesome. Great pick!

  14. Kathleen Smith Jan 23 2012 at 10:44 am #

    This looks achingly wonderful. Even if I don’t win, it is going on my list for sure. One of my favorite illustrated novels will always be The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Little Nobody Owens on his own are amazing, but those ghostly sketches really add to the suspense.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:56 am #

      “Achingly wonderful” <-- Yes! Exactly! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when you get around to reading it!

    • Caitlin Vanasse Jan 23 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      I listened to The Graveyard Book on tape and have been telling people how wonderful it is to listen to Gaiman read it. Now I’ll have to pick up the book to see the illustrations!

      • Kathleen Smith Jan 25 2012 at 12:43 am #

        Yeah, I’ve both read it and listened to the audiobook. The audiobook is really good too! The illustrations in the book give it a slightly different feel, interestingly enough.

  15. Dani Nguyen Jan 23 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I adore Brian Selznick’s books. The Invention of Hugo Cabret & Wonderstruck were both fabulous illustrated novels.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:57 am #

      YES! I’d forgotten about Selznick’s books. Those would not be the same without his amazingly gorgeous illustrations!

    • Caitlin Vanasse Jan 23 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Does Selznick consider his books illustrated novels or something beyond that? That being said I’ve been excited to read Wonderstruck since I heard an NPR bit about it and am so glad you reminded me of it.

  16. Jasmine Stairs Jan 23 2012 at 10:51 am #

    My favourite book supported with illustrations right now is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy. I love the pictures by themselves, and I love what they do to the story. (I especially love the maps in the end-pieces.)

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 11:58 am #

      You are not the first person to mention Westerfeld’s books! (I really need to read the LEVIATHAN series.)

  17. Brett Jan 23 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Thanks for the recommendation; I’ll have to pick up A Monster Calls as soon as I am finished rereading the John Cleaver series. Maybe I shouldn’t pair the two back to back–it could be a bit too much creepy / heartbreaking. I’m very excited about Dan Wells’ Partials. He is an excellent writer who gets better with each book, so Partials should be pretty awesome.

    I’m not sure if this counts as illustrated, but my favorite typographically illustrated novel is House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. They way the typography reflects and simultaneously creates the mood and tone of the book is striking. While characters are exploring sections of a creepy house the text is dense and packed into small corners of each page; later, while a character is running from unseen enemy, there are only a few words on each page for almost 25 pages, pushing the pace to an extreme.

    If that doesn’t count there is always The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, by Rief Larsen. Perhaps almost as meta-textual as House of Leaves, The Selected Works’ illustrations not only inform the narrative, but are the reason for the story. Larsen’s maps and diagrams added an important dimension of wonder to the novel, which I think would have been missing otherwise.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      A MONSTER CALLS is not too-too creepy, although the cover does make it appear like a horror book. It’s more heartbreaking and bittersweet and lyrical than anything else. I haven’t read HOUSE OF LEAVES, but I know what you mean about graphics reflecting the mood and tone of a book — it is so powerful when illustrations manage to do that!

  18. Gina Rinelli Jan 23 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Wow, favorite book with illustrations? It’s been so long! I’d have to agree with Jasmine Stairs above, the map in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is just so many kinds of awesome.

    Btw, the only way you could have made this giveaway of A MONSTER CALLS better is by throwing in PARTIALS. I’m pretty sure you are reading my mind. LOVE Dan Wells, and have been hearing so many good things about Patrick Ness.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      I really need to get my hands on LEVIATHAN, especially after all this map-swooning! And yay — so happy you’re pumped about AMC and PARTIALS! Wells definitely wrote well-layered thriller with PARTIALS!

  19. Jayjay Atanacio Jan 23 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Though I haven’t read anything an illustration book but I think I like Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver 🙂

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      I adored Oliver’s BEFORE I FALL, but I still haven’t got around to LIESEL AND PO! Must read soon 🙂

  20. Katie Tuccelli Jan 23 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Wow. Just, wow. That book cover is amazing, and your review – well, it made me want to read the book immediately.

    My favorite illustrated novel? I _love_ the illustrated version of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. Charless Vess is a master illustrator! (I see there a few Gaiman lovers here!)

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Yay! So happy the review made you want to read A MONSTER CALLS even more! It is a beautiful story, and I hope you love it as much as I did. And yes, you are not the first to mention Gaiman’s works! 🙂

  21. SarahJMaas
    SarahJMaas Jan 23 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Aghhh, Erin!! My TBR pile is already SO LONG! Curse you for writing such an awesome book review! I think I’m probably gonna order A MONSTER CALLS today–it sounds like my kinda book! <3

    Great job on the review, Erin!!! You totally sold me. 🙂

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      Haha. Thank you Sarah. And I’m sorry, truly. I know what it feels like to have a TBR pile so tall you feel you might be suffocated to death if it topples over on you. But it is so worth adding this one. You will love it 🙂

  22. Krispy Jan 23 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    This one has been on my TBR list for a while, and all I’ve heard are good things. The illustrations caught my eye first because they reminded me of the Scary Stories books that used to freak me out as a kid. Haha.

    Off the top of my head, I really loved Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy. The illustrations really helped make his complex and fascinating alternate world come to life!

    Thanks for the giveaway, ladies! 😀

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Someone else mentioned the Scary Stories book too! I think you’ll really dig this book. The illustrations so perfectly match the mood and the story is just heart-breakingly beautiful.

  23. Hannah Jan 23 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    It’s not a novel, but I always enjoyed the illustrations in Shel Silverstein’s books of poetry.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes! Those illustrations always perfectly matched the poems!

  24. -k the Lady Critic Jan 23 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I’m a huge fan of Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s books and last year showed The Mysteries of Harris Burdick being turned into this amazing set of short stories written by authors like Stephen King and Lois Lowry.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      I love Allsburg’s illustrations. I remember marveling over them as a child!

  25. Mac_v Jan 23 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    This book sounds incredible. If I don’t win, I’m definitely going to get it anyway!! As for my favorite book accompanied by illustrations? The Graveyard Book. Hands down. 🙂

    Met
    <3

  26. Cristina Rose Jan 23 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    GUYS! I know I’m a little late on this (what else is new?), but CONGRATS on Pub Crawl!! It’s so exciting seeing how things have changed since I was with you in LTWF. I love the pub theme (“brews on tap,” “past brews,” “specials,” etc) and the new layout. So awesome.

    That being said, congrats to each and every one of you on your individual accomplishments! And I’m really excited about Sarah’s novellas! Finally, some of Celaena’s story is being released … unfortunately, I was too late to happen across ToG while it was QoG on FP to read it!

    Good luck to all of you and congrats on the great kickoff to the new year. I miss you all! <3

    • Cristina Rose Jan 23 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      Oh, and of course, welcome to the new contributors!!

      • Erin Bowman
        Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 4:34 pm #

        Thanks, Cristina!! (And as someone who jumped on Sarah’s novella the second it came out and devoured it: You will love it. Celaena is such a wonderful protagonist. Loveloveloved it!)

      • savannahjfoley Jan 23 2012 at 8:34 pm #

        <3

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Jan 23 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Awwww, thank you SO much, Cristina!!! And thank you for all your kind words regarding Pub Crawl!!! <3 <3

      Hope you're doing well!!!!!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 23 2012 at 7:55 pm #

      AHHH! HI CRISTINA! <3

      Thank you thank you thank you! It was a bit bittersweet leaving LTWF behind and moving forward with Pub Crawl - but also SUPER exciting!

      Hope all is well! I miss you!

    • Biljana
      Biljana Jan 23 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks, Christina!! <3 It's good to hear from you :).

    • Sammy Jan 23 2012 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks, Christina! I hope everything’s going well with you too! <3

    • Kat Zhang
      Kat Zhang Jan 23 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi, Christina! So great to hear from you again 😀 Yay! I’m glad you like the new format. We’re all super excited about Sarah’s novellas, too <3

      Hope you're having a fantastic year!!

  27. Andrea Jan 23 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    THE LITTLE PRINCE is the most amazing ‘novel supported by illustrations’! (Does it count as a novel? Either way, it rocks!). There is so much truth and beauty in that little page-turner. I’m pretty sure it has the best illustrations too 😀 Of course I’ll have to read A MONSTER CALLS to be sure ;D That review makes me want to read it now!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      I’d forgotten all about THE LITTLE PRINCE! That book has some lovely illustrations. And hooray — so glad the review made you even more anxious to pick up A MONSTER CALLS! I hope you like it as much as I did 🙂

  28. Yahong Jan 23 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Oh, oh oh, middle-grade fantasy is PERFECT for this question. I swear. SO many illustrations. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (Jonathan Auxier) has wicked illustrations, and the author did them himself! So snazzy.

    A Monster Calls. Oh, man. Those last few pages… so tearjerking. And “fairy tales gone wrong” — what a spot-on description of the stories, Erin. This is the book that got me started on Ness’s Chaos Walking series. (I do believe it’s marketed as YA, though; I seem to remember wondering at how teens would take the MG protag. I might be wrong though.)

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 23 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      I’ve heard great things about PETER NIMBLE! I saw Auxier’s trailer for the book, which I believe he also illustrated, and that was simply lovely. I’ll have to look into the book.

  29. Hayley G Jan 23 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    My favourite novel with illustrations included right now is Hidden by Kelley Armstrong!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 24 2012 at 8:55 am #

      Haven’t read that one! Adding to my TBR list 🙂

  30. gt Jan 24 2012 at 12:25 am #

    +1 for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 24 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Yet another Westerfeld vote! I really need to get my hands on LEVIATHAN. 🙂

  31. Stephanie Jan 24 2012 at 12:33 am #

    Oh, my favorite would definitely have to be Alice in Wonderland (and Through the Looking Glass for that matter). It’s a classic, but a goody. And also one of the few novels with image “support” so to speak.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 24 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Oh, I’d forgotten all about WONDERLAND and LOOKING GLASS! Such great illustration-word pairings!

  32. Molson G Jan 24 2012 at 7:33 am #

    i’m a big fan of dan wells, and can’t wait for partials. however..this review of a monster calls has me sold. will be reading soon!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 24 2012 at 8:58 am #

      PARTIALS was a fun sci-fi! And if you’re a Wells fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it! (Also: so glad you’re now interested in MONSTER! I hope you enjoy it.)

  33. Sarah S Jan 24 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Maybe this is for a slightly younger audience, but — I loved the illustrations in Charlotte’s Web.

  34. Tamara Walsh Jan 24 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    This was a tough one for me, because it’s been awhile since I read anything illustrated. But then I remembered how cool it was to see illustrations in the last few Gunslinger novels. (Stephen King) I’m pretty sure that, since then, they’ve all come out with illustrations, so I’m gonna have to go with those.
    I love Patrick Ness. I’m currently reading The Knife of Never Letting Go–although I’m having a tough time getting through it. Not because I don’t love it, but because something super sad happens and I didn’t want it to. haha. I think I cried for like twenty minutes straight and I haven’t picked up the book since then, but I HAVE to finish it because it’s SO good.
    Anyway, thanks for the contest. I just came across your site pretty recently, but it’s really great!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 24 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      I can’t even keep count of how many times I cried reading THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO! But I LOVE that book – it’s easily become one of my all-time faves! And you DEFINITELY need to finish it! (And then make sure you have the 2nd book on hand, because you’ll want to start reading it IMMEDIATELY afterwards!)

      And thanks for the kind words about the site! We’re all super proud of it 😀

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 25 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks for the kind words about the site, Tamara! And I really need to read TKoNLG. It’s been on my TBR list forever, and after reading AMC and hearing everyone else rave about Ness’s work, I think I’m going to move it up my pile 🙂

  35. Brandon Scott Jan 24 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Um… I guess my favorite novel enhanced by illustrations would have to be… hm… well, I think I’ll cheat and use a novella. The name of that novella would be Dragon’s Oath by P.C. and Kristin Cast. I’m sorry I had to cheat, but I don’t think I’ve read a novel that I really “liked” with illustrations in it. Even as I kid I liked reading novels without them, even if some kids (and even teachers) thought I was weird. Ha ha! So yes, I guess I’m sticking with Dragon’s Oath. 😀

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 25 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Oh, it’s not cheating. That is absolutely fine. Truthfully, the illustrated novel is a rare breed. I don’t know DRAGON’S OATH, but I’m going to go google it now 🙂

  36. Audrey Jan 24 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    SO MANY TEARS were shed for AMC!! That book is just flawless, I can’t get over its brilliance! I’m so stoked to read Partials– I’ve been hearing great stuff 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 25 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Audrey, flawless is the perfect word for AMC. I truthfully had no faults with the book. Conor’s anger was my favorite part, because it just felt so real! PARTIALS was a really fun ride. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

  37. Sheryl McFarlane Jan 24 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    My daughter gave me A Monster Calls for Christmas. I loved everything about it, including the illustrations. This book is such a rich exploration of relationships that it’s hard to believe it’s a little over 200 pages. And what an emotional roller coaster… It’s frightening, funny, sad, and heart wrenching. And it’s angrifying! I know, I know. Angrifying is not a word. But it ought to be. I was so pissed off at Conor’s dad that if he weren’t a character in a book, I would have phoned him up to give him a piece of my mind. How’s that for creating three dimensional characters! I particularly love that Patrick Ness is unafraid to explore the full range of human emotions, especially anger. In fact, Conor’s anger at the unfairness of his mother’s illness is so unflinchingly expressed that it almost dwarf’s the monster of his nightmares.

    While some might call this a middle grade novel, the depth of writing will speak to much more mature audiences. Thanks for the recommendation Erin, and bravo Patrick Ness for writing a masterpiece.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 25 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Sheryl, I agree with you on everything!! There was truly so much depth and meaning to all the relationships in this book, which as you pointed out, is mind-boggling given its length. And anger, as an emotional response — this was the part that really sold me on this book. Ness handled it brilliantly.

  38. Jess Jan 25 2012 at 12:14 am #

    My fave novel with supported with pictures is Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor. The stories are gorgeous, and the pictures are just so perfect.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 25 2012 at 11:33 am #

      I have heard SO many good things about Lani’s LIPS TOUCH, but I didn’t even know it included illustrations! Must check it out! 🙂

  39. Zara Alexis Jan 25 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Wonderful story, wonderful illustrations!

    Zara
    zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com
    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:28 am #

      That book had gorgeous illustrations. Selznick is incredibly talented!

  40. Kayla B. Jan 26 2012 at 1:09 am #

    I know that someone else said it, but my favorite illustrated novel has got to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I also liked the illustrations in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books. That being said, I cannot wait to read Partials and A Monster Calls!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:30 am #

      More votes for WONDERLAND and NARNIA are always welcome! Their visuals add so much to the stories 🙂

  41. chelleyreads Jan 26 2012 at 1:11 am #

    my favorite book with illustrations is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Those creepy photos were such an integral part of the novel!

  42. Juhina Jan 26 2012 at 1:40 am #

    I don’t read a lot of those but from the ones I did read it has to be Diary of a wimpy kid!! Amazing and hilarious books!

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:32 am #

      Haven’t read DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, but I have heard great things about it!

  43. Sarah (TheBookLife) Jan 26 2012 at 1:58 am #

    I don’t know if this truly counts, but when I was a kid I had a completely illustrated version of The Hobbit. It was almost a graphic novel, I guess. It was fantastic! The Hobbit is one of my favorite books and the illustrated version is something I will never forget :0)

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Sarah, that totally counts in my book! (THE HOBBIT is one of my favorites, too!)

  44. Jasmine Rose Jan 26 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Definitely The Search for WondLa. I absolutely love that book.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:33 am #

      I’m not familiar with that one! *runs off to google it*

  45. Cassie Jan 26 2012 at 6:08 am #

    A Monster’s Call sounds fantastic!! I’ll put that on my list to read RIGHT NOW. ahaha.

    Honestly, I don’t recall reading many books filled with illustrations. Water for Elephants has some pretty neat black and white photos, but…yeah….

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Cassie, you will love AMC! It is so powerful and beautiful. I remember those b/w photos from WATER FOR ELEPHANTS! They added to the atmosphere in the same way the photos did in MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN — they seemed to make the story that much more real.

  46. Carl Jan 26 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Just out recently, Moby Dick in Pictures. Classic story, great illustrations.
    Thanks for hosting this event.

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Jan 26 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Classics are a ton of fun when illustrations are included! It’s like double the fun 🙂

  47. Jaskirat@SeeitORread Jan 26 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    There aren’t a lot of YA books that consist of illustrations but recently my favourite would have to be Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver. I loved her book Delirium and this one was a fun read too! Honestly I wish more YA books had illustrations because it makes it so much easier to connect with the characters and just experience the story. Great giveaway…thanks so much! 🙂

  48. Heather Muir Jan 27 2012 at 12:09 am #

    I have to admit I love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with the original John Tenniel illustrations. Those drawings add something to the text in a way that no other story has. Or I could just be a fanatic. Who knows. 🙂

  49. Jenelle R. Jan 27 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Lips touch three times by Laini Taylor. It. Was. AMAZING. The drawings were sooo beautiful as well!

  50. Kristie M Jan 27 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Diary of a wimpy kid. Thanks for the givaway!

  51. Amanda Marie Jan 27 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Anything by Patrick Ness is gonna be awesome! That’s just a given 🙂
    Great giveaway!

  52. Asia M Jan 27 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I’ve just bought The BFG for my boyfriend (haha), and like Alyssa, I always favoured Quentin Blake’s o-so-recognizable illustrations!

    I also love Philippe Munch’s illustrations for Jack London’s books. So detailed and accurate, with a flair for atmosphere.

  53. Lana Krumwiede Jan 27 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Oh, this book is incredible! Possibly my favorite book I read in 2011. Definitely one of the finest illustrated novels around, along with Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN series.

  54. Alz Jan 28 2012 at 1:14 am #

    I’m reading Blackbringer by Laini Taylor right now and I find I actually quite like the illustrations (well, they’re more like character portraits), few and far between though they are.

  55. Lora Rivera (@lroser Jan 28 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I first heard about A Monster Calls through the book trailer. Just gorgeous and eerie and deep. I’ve been dying to read it since!

    But illustrated novels? I think the only other one I’ve read is The Graveyard Book, which I might’ve sent to my deployed hubby sticky-noted with GET OUT OF YOUR PLANE AND READ THIS NOW 🙂

  56. elena Jan 29 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I loved The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman! Coraline’s illustrations were also wonderful, one of them even took me by surprise.

  57. Juli Helms Jan 29 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Oooh, love it! All my friends seemed to have loved AMC. I can’t wait to read it, whether I win or not! 😀

    My favorite book with enhanced illustrations is either THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (of course, ha), or LIESL & PO. Magical! 😀

  58. Crystal Martinez Jan 29 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I loved reading the Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark series! They had some of the best illustrations 🙂

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