Genre: Fantasy, YA
First published: 2011
Author: Patrick Ness
Synopsis: Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
This book. This damn book. This book is raw and it’s powerful and beautiful and terrifying. It’s made of pain and nightmares and dreams and hope and it demands to be read. It is a wild thing though, so treat it as such. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”
And so they are.
How do I tell you about this story? Do I tell you how it made me feel? It made me afraid. It made me hopeful. It hurt. It made me smile. It made me angry.
Do I tell you what it taught me? It taught me that we all have stories to tell. It taught me, or perhaps helped me to remember that we can’t control our stories. Not the ones that we create and especially not the one that we live. It taught me that people can be monsters and monsters can be people. It taught me that wounds can heal and that allowing yourself to heal is okay. It taught me about forgiveness. For oneself and for others.
Do I tell you what it’s about? It’s about life and love and stories. It’s about how those things are one and the same. It’s about hope and despair, about pain and healing and the ruthlessness of time. It’s about truth and how terrible it can be. And how liberating. It is about how humans are so amazingly complex and bizarre and contradictory.
Do I tell you… what do I tell you? What can I tell you that will make you understand? Except perhaps ‘read it’. This is one of those books that isn’t just a story. It’s a truth onto itself. In a way, all stories are true. But this one is especially true. And that, more than anything, is what I can tell you about this book. It is true.