Novel by Patrick Ness
Idea by Siobhan Dowd
This book was a beautiful but harrowing read. It is a story about a boy whose mother has cancer who is visited by a yew tree monster. The story was very sad and I cried several times. It is a touching and honest tale and will definitely touch anyone who has ever been in a similar situation. I would not recommend it to someone who has recently experienced loss as it might be a bit much to take, but I think it could also be cathartic for someone whose loss is a bit further in the past.
The topic of the story was also made more poignant by the fact that Siobhan Dowd, who created the ideas for the story, died of cancer at just 47 before she was able to write the book, and it feels like a swansong for her.
I really liked the monster's first two stories, and the duality of the characters in them. I liked the way the magical elements interwove with the realities of life. Conor's bond with his mother was beautiful, and his problems with his grandmother and father felt very real. I couldn't help being mad at his father for not being there.
It is an addictive book, and I ended up reading most of it in one sitting, so I recommend it for a rainy day. But make sure you have a hanky or tissues with you.