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Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

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Monsters

Brain Feeding: A Monster Calls

An utterly compelling read, its tone reminiscent of a classic fable in parts, A Monster Calls is one of those rare books that you wished you’d never read, so you could read it all over again.

It tells the story of a young boy battling far bigger fears than the most gruesome and terrifying of all monsters – the reality of his Mum, losing her battle with cancer…

Its roots are fixed in the mechanics of a troubled young mind, where imagination and fantasy become barriers to the harshest of all realities. Yet Ness doesn’t dwell on the loss as many of these tales often do. It’s not a story that grinds you down and makes you wish you’d never wallowed in it – it’s quite the opposite.

It’s a beautiful concept delivered with simplicity, respect and elegance.

The origins of the story were the brainchild of talented YA Author Siobhan Dowd, who before her tragic passing wrote some fantastic fiction of her own – The London Eye Mystery in particular, which is back on my reading list – but Ness takes up the baton here and produces something truly special in completion.

The atmospheric illustrations of Jim Kay add so much for me too, as a huge graphic novel fan, I would definitely check out this illustrated version if you haven’t already.

Read it on your own, read it with your kids, take it down the park and read it to anyone who’ll listen. You can’t fail to be inspired by something as stunning as this.

This is exactly what I mean by Brain Feeding

Truly outstanding

*A Monster Calls is available from Blackwell’s Bookshop in Portsmouth & via Amazon

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Brain Feeding: Stranger Things

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Tom Harris, November 2016

Netflix – I’ve heard strange things about it; some bad, mostly good – and so when someone told me that there was this epic new series called ‘Stranger Things’ excusive to the online giant, I of course budgeted £7 a month by cancelling all my charity donation direct debits [Sometimes it’s good to be selfish] and I’ve been rewarded with this superb piece of nostalgic, creative genius from the Duffer Brothers.

Is it A: The Goonies meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Is it B: ET meets Dark Angel? Or is it C: The Wonder Years meets Alien…? The answer is D: All of the above.

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What it definitely is though is utterly brilliant! It has a great soundtrack, especially in the earlier episodes, featuring The Clash, Peter Gabriel’s atmospheric cover of ‘Heroes’ &  The Bangles’ hugely underrated version of ‘Hazy Shade of Winter,’ that plays out Episode 2 in a moment of exhilarating genius that makes you yearn for Episode 3.

bangles-lyrics

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, jump-scares (see end of episode 7, still recovering) geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Ryder is incredible as the hapless and hopeless, Joyce Byers, whose son, Will, disappears into thin air. When Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin & Lucas, find a mysterious girl, Eleven – the brilliant Millie Bobby Brown – in the woods on their search for their missing buddy, things begin to get…stranger…

This series transported me right back to zooming along the mean streets of Birmingham on my Budgie, that’s the bike not a caged bird by the way.

Check it out for nostalgic, sci-fi conspiracy, monster fantasy. You will not regret it!

Season 1: Episodes 1-8 are available exclusively on Netflix

 

 

 

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