A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Meet Conor's mothers' mother, who comes to stay with them when Conor's mom gets really sick. She's a funky one, Grandma. She lives in a pristine house, she dyes her hair so her gray won't show, she still works (as a real estate agent), and she's determined to stay young for as long as possible. She seems to cling to her life with both hands, while she watches her daughter slip away.
When Conor stays with her during his mom's last trip to the hospital, he's not exactly digging on Grandma's house. She's, shall we say, a bit of a neat freak. And though she may be a bit offbeat, what with her job and dyed hair and all, her décor is still very old lady chic: "the walls were bare white except for three different prints of sailing ships, which was probably as far as his grandma's thinking went toward what boys might like" (12.20). Seen through Conor's eyes, Grandma's just one more person who doesn't really listen to or understand him. She's got good intentions, but as he sits in her generic, bright white guestroom, he feels kind of invisible to her, too.