Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark // A Nice Middle Grade "Horror" Story

Saturday, 13 August 2016
Tell the Story to Its End, by Simon P. Clark
Publication: October 20, 2015, by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 198
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

In this beautiful, haunting debut, a boy is whisked away to the country in the wake of a scandal, and finds a captivating creature in the attic whose attention comes at a sinister price.
People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad where his father is. Why isn't he with them? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic… Eren is not human. Eren is hungry for stories. Eren has been waiting for him. Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening downstairs with his family. But what if it’s a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth—or abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever. Reminiscent of SKELLIG by David Almond and A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness, EREN is richly atmospheric, moving, unsettleing, and told in gorgeous prose. A modern classic in the making.

My Thoughts:

What a bunch of 3.5 star ratings I have been giving to books lately. That's not a bad thing!—3.5 ratings are pretty good, if you ask me. Simon P. Clark's Tell the Story to Its End was sent to me a looooooonnnnnggggg time ago, and I am so upset that I chose to read it now. This is a fabulous middle-grade horror story that resembles the gorgeous A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, a book that stands as a classic horror story for me, most definitely because I have never read anything close to it and I can only use it as a sample to compare other lesser-good books to. This is honestly so so so similar, which kind of frustrated me because I came here for middle-grade luxury. I wanted to read a rich story filled with dark fairy tales and moments where I wanted to pull my hair out of my scalp. (Sorry for the harsh imagery!)

This wasn't scary, sadly. I am always in for a good horror read, and I will do whatever it takes to seek that perfect scary story that will cause me to have trouble sleeping at night. Whatever it takes. I honestly didn't even suspect that this was middle-grade fiction. I remember requesting it last year, simply for the reason that this was a horror story. I have read some great ones in the past, like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Asylum. I occasionally get so inspired by these stories that I write things based on them, including reviews, obviously. This? It was blander than I expected. Perhaps you middle-grade fans will enjoy this one—it was great, just not 100% me, you know?

Tell the Story to Its End has this foggy, misty feel to it. It screams out eerie, it screams out craziness. I loved the cover from the first time I saw it, and I just wanted to read about this so-called monster named Eren. This book once was called Eren, in case you didn't know. What I really enjoyed was the protagonist's connection to this monster. Oli is our hero, in this case, and instead of that fear factor impacting each of us to death (practically), this was more of a friendship story, something that is really difficult to seek. It's just that I wasn't looking for friendship, but horror, instead.

"Living is the strangest story there is, boy. Try not to forget that. It's swings and roundabouts in the end. Stories define you, but you are the stories that matter. I'm just an outsider, in the end" (73).

This is just such a quick read, which was a HUGE highlight for me. Because of the way Clark has written and formatted the story, it deserves a small story with so much more depth on the outside for readers to explore. It simply was philosophical, and not about what's on the outside perspective—not Eren or Oli, but life. That's why I enjoy reading middle-grade from time to time; I am older, so I always find myself receiving a different message out of the book compared to the direct point-of-view. By the way: Eren is a story-eating monster. He keeps on living by hearing stories that Oli tells him. THAT'S MEGA COOL.

So, for a quick summary, this is your "new kid moves into a new town" kind of book where he has no friends and misses his home. Oli and his mother "temporarily" move into Oli's uncle's house a far distance from London, his previous home and the home he has always known, and Oli discovers Eren in the attic of his new home. He obviously makes some eerie friends outside of the house, and he just spends the novel seeking answers, seeking the answers to life and why everything that has happened to him has happened. It's simple, but carries so much more than the surface story.  

Oli was the cutest little boy, the most heroic hero I have read about in a while. Readers, he compares to kick-ass teenage protagonists, like Four from Divergent and yadda yadda yadda. THAT'S A HIGH STANDING. As mentioned before, Oli makes friends besides Eren: Takeru and Em. TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY AND COOL STUFF. We also need to talk about the illustrations in the book—they were gorgeous and self-explanatory. Without them, Clark's majestic story wouldn't carry the same depth as it actually did. 

This is a book that you need to explore on your own—you need to go out and understand the tricks and twists to really enjoy it. I certainly liked that about Clark's story, because we rarely find these riddles and twists in middle-grade or in fiction at all. I like complexity, and this novel certainly did carry that throughout. I found the complexity as a goal, even. And it absolutely was succeeded.

"As long as there's people, there's tales. Always has been, and touch wood, always will be!" (131)

Tell the Story to Its End is a real story about a kid. You don't have to begin reading to suspect a happy ending, because there will be that voice in you telling you that because of the mood, there might not be that happy ending after all. From beginning to end, I was intrigued with the storytelling-concept and the friendship between Eren and Oli, but I certainly was expecting something different. Patrick Ness, you should take a look at this one and see if you see a resemblance to something else that is quite... amazing.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What are some other middle-grade horror stories? What is a recent book that fooled you? 


  1. I've never heard of this book before so thank you for putting it on my radar! I really enjoyed A Monster Calls so I'll definitely check this out! :)

    1. Woo hoo! I just love children books that deal with monsters/absurd creatures. Ahh. :)


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