Okay. So I’m late to the Patrick Ness party, but delighted to be here at last. Agent Sue recommended the Chaos Walking trilogy to me earlier this year, which I read and loved; then my excellent wife Monica gave me A Monster Calls for my birthday. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever owned, and I’ve been saving it for a time I’m marginally less stressed. I planned to read a chapter or two each night, and really savour it. In the end, I devoured it in a single sitting. It’s one of the most striking, compelling, heartbreaking books I’ve read in a very long time. Jim Kay‘s illustrations – bringing almost every page to life – are sumptuously perfect, and Patrick Ness writes with power, precision and grace. The intertwining of artist and writer blurs the boundaries between novels and graphic novels. I think this is also the first book I’ve read that utterly defies ebooks. The story would be the same on a Kindle or Nook, of course, but there’s no way of electronically mapping this sort of paper book; the weight, the feel of the paper, the shape of the book, the stark integration of a full-page illustration with a page of a text. It’s an experience, and it’s simply beautiful. Read it.