6. “This is all sounding pretty fairy tale-ish,” Conor says to the monster. However, the monster’s stories deviate from the traditional fairy tale norm. Why does the monster play with Conor’s expectations? What do the stories teach him?
7. Conor’s reactions to the stories become increasingly violent. Although the adults in the novel absolve him of responsibility, is he to blame for his actions?
Why is the lack of punishment important to Conor?
8. Conor’s monster appears to him in the form of a giant yew tree. What is the medicinal value of the tree? What does the yew traditionally symbolize and how is this relevant to the novel?
9. Harry, the school bully, looks straight into Conor’s eyes and says, “I no longer see you”. Why is it important to Conor that people ‘see’ him?
10. Describe Conor’s recurring nightmare. How does it usually end? What changes when the monster demands the truth? What is more painful for Conor
to admit than the death of his mother?
11. At the very end of the novel what does Conor say to his mother? Why must he say it? Why must she hear it?
12. The authors’ note explains that Patrick Ness wrote the novel based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd. He tells the reader to “Go. Run with it. Make trouble.” Discuss the ways in which the novel shows that stories have a life of their own.