In preparation for our screening of the movie adaptation of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd, we have prepared a list of materials to read that have similar themes with A Monster Calls. These materials deal with loss, having a sick family member, cancer, monsters, and family relationships. These materials are of varying reading levels, but can all be found in the True North Teen Room!
These materials are available in the physical book format, as well as audiobook format. Many of these titles are also available as eBooks and eAudiobooks through the Libby app. Never used Libby? Click here to learn about this eBook and eAudio mobile app available on Apple and Android devices!
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
Lewis MacDougall as Conor
Sigourney Weaver as Grandma
Felicity Jones as Mum
Liam Neeson as The Monster
Available in the following formats:
1) Book: True North YA NESS PATRICK
2) Audiobook: Main Street CDB NESS
3) DVD: Main Street DVD MONSTER
4) Blu-ray: Main Street BLU-RAY MONSTER
5) Regular eBook and movie-tie-in eBook both available on Libby!
Check out this Book Tree to see how the following books relate to each other!
Main characters with
sick family members
1) The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Jon Klassen
1) YA New Books: YA OPPEL KENNETH
2) Main Street: CDB OPPEL
3) eBook available on Libby
4) eAudiobook available on Libby
Steve is plagued by dreams, much like Conor was in A Monster Calls, however Steve is dreaming about his sick baby brother. Steve is visited by the queen of the wasp nest in his dream, with offers of fixing the sickness plaguing Steve’s brother. Steve learns the consequences of saying “yes” in order to save his brother and his family.
A dark tale with illustrations just as haunting as those in A Monster Calls.
2) Skellig by David Almond
1) True North: YA ALMOND DAVID
2) Main Street: DVD SKELLIG
Ten year old Michael is excited to be moving into a new house and neighborhood, but excitement turns to dread when he his baby sister becomes sick. A feeling of helplessness consumes Michael with each visit of the doctor. Michael ventures into the garage and discovers Skellig, a owl-like being living under the spiderwebs, feeding on bugs. With his new friend, Mina, Michael nurses Skellig back to health, and his and Mina’s worlds are changed with the Skellig’s, much like Conor’s life is changed by the Monster.
3) The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow
1) True North: YA CROW MATTHEW
2) eBook available on Libby
Just like in Conor’s family, cancer strikes Francis’s family in The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise, however, but it is our main character Francis who is diagnosed. Coming from broken family, and not having many friends at school, Francis thought that he would be facing this alone. That is until he met fellow cancer patient Amber. He falls for her and together they do their best to get through this ordeal. But Francis soon realizes that he is getting better and Amber is not. This is a novel that gives a hopeful and positive outlook on surviving cancer.
Dealing with loss
4) After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates
True North: YA OATES JOYCE CAROL
There is before the accident and after the accident. Before the accident, Jenna Abbot was like any other 15 year old living in suburbia. After the accident on the Tappen Zee Bridge, where Jenna loses her mother, Jenna puts walls up around herself. Not just to keep the memories of what happened locked up, but also to keep from getting close to anyone. Until she meets Crow and the walls come slowly back down. Jenna’s story deals with the harsh trauma of surviving an accident and losing someone in it, and learning to accept what has happened.
5) When You Were Here
by Daisy Whitney
True North: YA WHITNEY DAISY
Danny Kellerman is a few weeks shy of his high school graduation and bereft of all hope for the future. His mother lost her battle with cancer and shortly after, his girlfriend inexplicably dumped him, leaving him alone to wallow in his grief. In an effort to reconnect with his mother, he travels to their rental property in Tokyo, where she was receiving treatment before her death. This book expertly toes the line between love and loss.
6) A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray
1) True North: YA BRAY LIBBA
2) eBook available on Libby
This is the first novel in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. If you find you cannot get enough of the seedy world of magic Bray has conjured up, there’s more!
The year is 1895, and Gemma, a 16-year-old girl living in India, is forced to go to a boarding school in England following her mother’s mysterious suicide. In that way, her grief is the catalyst for the fantastic story ahead. In between adjusting to a new life and coping with her loss, Gemma is plagued by visions of the future. With the help of her sometimes-friends Ann, Felicity and Pippa, she comes to realize that life at Spence Academy is not what it seems…
Books with monsters
Coraline Jones has just moved into a rather peculiar old house. She spends her days exploring all the house has to offer, from its eccentric tenants to the mysterious, bricked up door in the adjacent flat. One day, Coraline goes exploring and is thrilled to find that the door is a gateway to an identical-yet-better world — inhabited by Coraline’s “Other Mother” and “Other Father,” who have buttons for eyes. But then she finds herself, and her real family, in grave danger.
Gaiman’s writing style is simple and easy-to-follow, so if you’re a hesitant reader, this is the one for you.
8) Sabriel by Garth Nix
1) True North: YA NIX GARTH
2) Main Street: CDB NIX (Audiobook)
3) True North: YA PAPERWHITE FANTASY AND DYSTOPIA (Kindle eReader)
4) eBook available on Libby
Sabriel is attending a boarding school in a magical, strictly governed land when she receives a message from her father, the Abhorsen. Her father is a necromancer charged with putting the living dead to rest, and unable to return from Death, he passes on a mission to her. Suddenly, Sabriel finds herself thrust into the dangerous world of Free Magic in Ancelstierre. She must rescue her father and defeat the evil forces at play.
Books about family relationships
9) The Girl in Between
by Sarah Carroll
1) YA New Books: YA CARROLL SARAH
2) eBook available on Libby
There’s an old, abandoned mill that has been forgotten by the world. Forgotten by everyone except for a girl and her ma. To them, it’s their castle and place of refuge from the authorities and their memories of living on the streets. Suddenly their refuge is threatened when developers show up to the mill. To save her Castle, the narrator looks to the ghosts of the mill and the caretaker who lives outside. She wants to not only save her Castle, but also her mother from the demons that torment her.
This moving story about family will tie in well with both A Monster Calls and Skellig.
10) Night Flying by Rita Murphy
True North: YA MURPHY RITA
All of the women in the Hansen family can fly. It’s a secret fastened in place by strict rules, enforced by Grandmother Hansen. 16-year-old Georgia is about to embark on her first solo flight — what is supposed to be a joyous celebration of freedom — when things go a little awry in her family dynamic. Her rule-breaking Aunt Carmen makes a sudden, unexpected appearance, and Georgia finds herself questioning her Grandmother’s judgment.
If you enjoyed the familial struggle in A Monster Calls, Murphy does something similar in this coming-of-age story.