The monster wakes Conner at 12:07, but it wasn’t the monster he was expecting. It wasn’t the monster from his nightmares so he wasn’t afraid. The monster takes the shape of a giant yew tree and tells Connor he will tell him three stories and after that Connor will tell him a fourth and the fourth will contain his truth. The stories the monster tells are ambiguous tales in shades of gray; there is no black and white, no right and wrong, no clear truth in these tales. But they lead Connor closer to his truth and his nightmare. When Connor is not facing his monster he is dealing with the fact that his mom is dying of cancer or not dealing with it as the case may be. He is being bullied and ignored at school. He feels like he is no longer seen. He no longer has friends or anyone to talk to. Basically his whole life is coming apart around him and he has nothing left to cling to…nothing but the nightly visits by the monster who is dragging him closer and closer to his nightmare.
This book sucks you in and won’t let go. I would recommend everyone read it. Seriously! Read it! I read it in one sitting…I didn’t put it down until I was finished with the last page, the last word, the last illustration. Connor’s story is one of grief and loss, and anger and frustration, and hurt and betrayal. All those things you feel as a 13-year-old losing your only real parent. Actually you probably feel them at any age. This book speaks in truths just as the monster says. The truth may be painful and gut-wrenching but it can also be freeing.
This is a magnificent book by a wonderful author who was given a brilliant idea. He did not go wrong by that idea.
Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book.