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Monoceros [Paperback]

Suzette Mayr
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 2011

‘Spellbinding and playful ... A stylistic tour de force.’ – National Post

Monoceros is one of the most imaginative, quirky and emotionally devastating novels I’ve read in a long while.’– Zoe Whittall, Globe and Mail

'[A] smart and difficult tale about grief and acceptance ... [Monoceros] just might be the most important book you read.' – CBC Books

'In a tragedy laced with humour, Mayr engages readers with her meticulous attention to detail, providing vivid descriptions of not only her characters, but also the heavy emotions ... churning inside them.’ – This Magazine

‘[A] complex and moving novel deserving of a large and attentive readership.’ – Quill and Quire

‘Ms. Mayr’s characterizations are second to none and she has a wonderful wit. [Monoceros] should be on all school curricula.’ – Winnipeg Review

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Product Description


'One of the most imaginative, quirky and emotionally devastating novels I’ve read in a long while.' — Globe and Mail

'Spellbinding and playful ... A stylistic tour de force.' — National Post

'Mayr has crafted a thoughtful tale examining how the death of one person can have ripple effects even on people who didn't know the deceased. Effectively portraying a range of ages, emotions, genders, and motivations, Mayr quickly engages readers.' — Publishers Weekly

'Bold and assured ... a complex and moving novel deserving of a large and attentive readership.' — Quill & Quire

About the Author

Suzette Mayr was born and raised in Calgary, where she graduated from the University of Calgary with an honors degree in English. After completing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Alberta, she returned to Calgary where she now teaches at the Alberta College of Art.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... March 2 2012
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
"Kids can be so cruel" just about sums up "Monoceros," an imaginative, quirky and emotionally devastating novel set in a Catholic Calgarian high school. The book opens with the voice of the Dead Boy, so bullied by his classmates and ignored by his teachers that he hangs himself by the end of the first chapter. A cast of supremely real students, parents and staff narrate the remainder of Mayr's chapters: a nerdy unicorn-obsessed virgin who served the Dead Boy iced caps, the Dead Boy's secret lover, a newly divorced and frazzled English teacher, the closeted school principal, an incompetent guidance counsellor and, to top it all off, a drag queen.

The novel's plot progresses steadily even though most of the action is emotional. Readers witness the characters grieve or refuse to grieve, care or refuse to care, and examine their lives from glass houses. Mayr deftly offers compelling detail both in convincing teen-speak and in the words of burnt-out teachers trying to make it through each day.

Unfortunately, the low point of the book comes at the final chapter, where unicorns appear on the scene in a sudden switch to magical realism; the abrupt shift throws the rest of the novel into upheaval. But, at the same time, it may be a fitting way to bring us to the end of a story that will inevitably endure as the fallout from the dead boy's choice reverberates in the psyches of those he left behind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read May 18 2011
Monoceros is an emotionally evocative book about a school community reacting to the suicide of a bullied gay teenager. It's a realistic look at the high school environment and the relationships within it. The book switches point of view between the dead boy, the uptight principal, the guidance counselor who couldn't talk about being gay, the dead boy's mother, and Faraday, a teenage girl who wonders if she could have saved the dead boy if she had just tried a little harder to be his friend. There is an element of the fantastic, which gives the book a feeling of hope and whimsy.

I laughed and cried, sometimes at the same time. I think this is a must read for anyone who has, or has been, a teenager.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written Aug. 6 2013
By Sandy Bexon - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story wields great impact, without clobbering its lessons home. Fabulous characters, huge insight into a world of people - young and older - who are searching and striving to find a comfortable place in their world. Superb writing.
3.0 out of 5 stars Adults have a too central role May 29 2013
By Salvi Manuela - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a good book, powerful and honest, but sometimes you forget that it's a YA novel because there are too many adult characters. I would have liked more about the teenagers of the story, how they change, but a lot of space is devoted to the grown-ups.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique and thought-provoking May 9 2012
By The Paperback Pursuer - Published on

A teen's suicide triggers a community to reflect on its actions. Students, faculty, and family members "tell" their own side of the story, while trying to make sense of a tragedy that could have been avoided.


Monoceros is definitely one of the most interesting books I have read in 2012. It is an unexpected and unique take on the aftermath of a homosexual teen's suicide, as told by the students, staff, and family he left behind. At first, I couldn't get past the sentence and grammatical structure of the text, it was choppy and strangely formatted. I did not enjoy the repetitiveness, nor did I favor the total lack of quotation marks. The dashes used made it difficult to determine which individuals were speaking during conversations. I did however appreciate the depth and personalities of the colorful cast of characters; especially Max, Crepe Suzette, Faraday, and Walter. The story-line was well-constructed, honest, and full of emotion. Even though each of the characters only had a small section written in their own perspective, I felt that the mix of thoughts and conversations kept the reader intrigued and sympathetic. I eventually got over most of the punctuation problems, but I still found them annoying. The only other problem I had was with the ending, I found it confusing and unnecessary. The writing itself was intricate, but I couldn't pinpoint the proposed audience. Overall, a strange, yet unique read; still unsure about the unicorn aspect... (no spoilers).

Rating: Bounty's Out (3/5)

* I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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