5 out of 5 stars.
Based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, A Monster Calls is a 2011 novel written by Patrick Ness with illustrations provided by Jim Kay. It follows the story of Conor, a thirteen-year-old boy who is plagued by nightmares – but not just any nightmare, the nightmare. Bullied at school and living alone with his ill mother, Conor tries to make the world believe he’s okay. Until the monster comes.
This was an amazing story. And I mean that whole heartedly. I managed to read it in two sittings across one weekend because I was so engrossed by everything. It was beautiful and haunting, and coupled with the artwork by Jim Kay, it created a tale that really struck me.
3.5 out of 5 stars
The School for Good and Evil is a 2013 children’s fantasy novel by Soman Chainani. His debut novel, TSFGAE went on to become a New York Times best seller and is the first in a trilogy that concludes sometime in 2015. It follows the story of two young girls named Agatha and Sophie who live in a village where it is common every few years for two opposing children to be kidnapped and never seen again – that is until new fairytale novels are released and those children are the main characters. All her life, Sophie has been waiting to be taken – she ritualised her life to become what she thought was a beacon of good. When the day comes for the children to be kidnapped, Sophie has her wish come true – with the unexpected addition of Agatha – but it is short lived when the two girls are sent to two different places. Both of which they were not expecting. Wannabe-princess Sophie finds herself in the School for Evil. Dark and twisted Agatha finds herself in the School for Good.
This story is all about breaking the conventions of what we perceive to be good and evil, but at times that point gets horribly lost.