Inexplicable Emotional Attachment. That’s what I have for this book. Sure, it may not be pristine: the illustrations are jagged and messy, the storyline is tragic and dark, and it involves the cancer subplot that so many young adult novels use. And yet this just made my Top Books Ever Read list. Because I don’t just love this book, I’m reading it again before the twenty-four hour time period is up. I want to buy another copy, in the off chance something happens to the copy I already have. Yep, all because I have Inexplicable Emotional Attachment: the illustrations are achingly beautiful and speak directly to the turmoil going on inside Conor; the monster, assumed to be boring, is my favorite character. I went into this book with high expectations, and usually that leads to an annoyed reader, but this exceeded what I anticipated. This isn’t a story about cancer, though there is a hospital element. This isn’t a story about what a bummer tragic loss is either, though tragedy is the bedrock of this story. This book has more heart than anything I’ve read all year, and it rang true on every page. This is a book about stories: stories people tell you to make you feel better, stories that are so true they never get told, and stories of life that have no sentimental lesson. I also am here in defense of the monster. Many an award-winning novel are bereft of terrifying monsters. Here Ness amends that oversight. Quote of the book: “Stories are wild creatures. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” This is one of those books I’d hand out to strangers.