Usually when I love a book, it's easy finding a way to "talk it up" with students at my middle school library. When I read The Wednesday Wars, for example, I skipped over the (not-so-kid-friendly) historical fiction part and focused on the rats.
Now, however, I'm facing a dilemma: I loved A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Candlewick Press). It's based on an idea that a favorite author, Siobhan Dowd, was developing when she died of cancer. Ness took Dowd's kernel of an idea and transformed it into a gripping, stomach-punch of a book. It touches on bullying, anger, isolation, pain, and fear of loss.
So what's my reservation? I'm not sure how (and to whom) I should book-talk A Monster Calls. The kids who really need this book (those who struggle with pain and isolation) may find it overwhelming. And anyone who's picking it up for an escapist monster read will find themselves tugged into a violent, sad, and sometimes hopeless world.
So, don't get me wrong...I LOVED THIS BOOK...I'm just not sure how to share it. Any ideas?