Thirteen-year-old Conor wakes from a nightmare to find a monster waiting for him. The yew tree in his yard has transformed into a wooden man bristling with twigs and branches. The monster says over the coming weeks it will tell Conor three stories and then Conor will tell the monster his own story.
Conor’s life becomes more and more bizarre — he spends his nights listening to the monster’s strange, confusing stories while dealing with a sick mother and a school bully in the daytime. Slowly he begins to understand the meaning behind the monster’s stories and come to terms with the story burning inside him — the story he swore never to tell anyone.
This book is a thing of painful beauty. Jim Kay’s stark black, white and grey images of the monster add to the books atmospheric creepiness and sadness. The story was inspired by the final idea of now-deceased young adult author Siobhan Dowd (author of “Solace of the Road” and other books). The book’s emotional, no-holds-barred examination of grief combines beautifully with its celebration of the power of story.
–Amanda Coppedge Bosky