SYNOPSIS: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
I enjoyed reading this book so much more than I thought I was going to when I picked it up from Waterstones as an impulsive buy. Not that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, it was just at a level of amazing I did not foresee!
First of all, I absolutely loved the artwork in this book! I’m not ashamed to say that I am someone who loves pretty books and sometimes falls into the trap of buying a book just because of it’s cover.. I thought the artwork really gave an extra dimension to the story, made it more real for me and gave me that kind of fairytale book vibe even though it isn’t quite the typical fairytale. Going on that, I loved the way the story was told and portrayed in a fairytale like way with this magical but also pretty terrifying tree telling three old tales while the story at the same time takes place in a reality where these kinds of things do not or at least should not happen.
When it comes to the plot I thought it was very heartfelt. Conor, the main character whose mom is battling cancer and is dealing with all sorts of problems ranging from bullies at school to the absence of his dad, was written very convincingly. I really did empathise with him and it definitely was an original take on depicting grief, loss and anger. The stories told by this magical tree in Conor’s backyard are not your typical fairy tale stories. They show how not everything is simply black and white, right and wrong. How loss doesn’t necessarily equal death and that is is necessary to let go and forgive those you love. At this point you might think you’ve got this book all figured out but I promise you that this is one of those books where you simply cannot predict what’s going to happen next.
I won’t spoil the ending but I will say it made me cry which I didn’t expect in a million years. I’m not the emotional type when it comes to reading books but this definitely struck a cord with me. I think it’s one of those books that will stay with me for a long time and that I would recommend both children and adults to read.
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Sidenote: you can check out the website of the illustrator Jim Kay over here