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Monster [Hardcover]

Walter D Myers
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (379 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 8 1999 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books

Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER.

FADE IN: INTERIOR COURT. A guard sits at a desk behind Steve. Kathy O'Brien, Steve's lawyer, is all business as she talks to Steve.

O'BRIEN
Let me make sure you understand what's going on. Both you and this king character are on trial for felony murder. Felony Murder is as serious as it gets. . . . When you're in court, you sit there and pay attetion. You let the jury know that you think the case is a serious as they do. . . .

STEVE
You think we're going to win ?

O'BRIEN (seriously)
It probably depends on what you mean by "win."

Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.

Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of "the system," cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.

As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth. This compelling novel is Walter Dean Myers's writing at its best.

2000 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, 2000 Michael L. Printz Award, 1999 National Book Award Finalist, 01 Heartland Award for Excellence in YA Lit Finalist, 00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List, and 00-01 Black-Eyed Susan Award Masterlist

2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), Hornbook Fanfare 2000, Michael L. Printz Award 2000, 2000 Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor Book, 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers), and 2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)


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From Amazon

"Monster" is what the prosecutor called 16-year-old Steve Harmon for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store owner. But was Steve really the lookout who gave the "all clear" to the murderer, or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? In this innovative novel by Walter Dean Myers, the reader becomes both juror and witness during the trial of Steve's life. To calm his nerves as he sits in the courtroom, aspiring filmmaker Steve chronicles the proceedings in movie script format. Interspersed throughout his screenplay are journal writings that provide insight into Steve's life before the murder and his feelings about being held in prison during the trial. "They take away your shoelaces and your belt so you can't kill yourself no matter how bad it is. I guess making you live is part of the punishment."

Myers, known for the inner-city classic Motown and Didi (first published in 1984), proves with Monster that he has kept up with both the struggles and the lingo of today's teens. Steve is an adolescent caught up in the violent circumstances of an adult world--a situation most teens can relate to on some level. Readers will no doubt be attracted to the novel's handwriting-style typeface, emphasis on dialogue, and fast-paced courtroom action. By weaving together Steve's journal entries and his script, Myers has given the first-person voice a new twist and added yet another worthy volume to his already admirable body of work. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-Steve Harmon, 16, is accused of serving as a lookout for a robbery of a Harlem drugstore. The owner was shot and killed, and now Steve is in prison awaiting trial for murder. From there, he tells about his case and his incarceration. Many elements of this story are familiar, but Myers keeps it fresh and alive by telling it from an unusual perspective. Steve, an amateur filmmaker, recounts his experiences in the form of a movie screenplay. His striking scene-by-scene narrative of how his life has dramatically changed is riveting. Interspersed within the script are diary entries in which the teen vividly describes the nightmarish conditions of his confinement. Myers expertly presents the many facets of his protagonist's character and readers will find themselves feeling both sympathy and repugnance for him. Steve searches deep within his soul to prove to himself that he is not the "monster" the prosecutor presented him as to the jury. Ultimately, he reconnects with his humanity and regains a moral awareness that he had lost. Christopher Myers's superfluous black-and-white drawings are less successful. Their grainy, unfocused look complements the cinematic quality of the text, but they do little to enhance the story. Monster will challenge readers with difficult questions, to which there are no definitive answers. In some respects, the novel is reminiscent of Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy (DK Ink, 1998), another book enriched by its ambiguity. Like it, Monster lends itself well to classroom or group discussion. It's an emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing.
Edward Sullivan, New York Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Iam a good person June 2 2005
Format:Paperback
The book "Monster" writen by Walter Dean Myers is about Steve Harmon a young black American boy who is the main character of the book.He is on trail for felony murder.Steve is accused together with James King for robbing a drugstore and killing the owner, but it is not clear if Steve had anything to do with the robbery. In the book Steve tries to find his identety. The book is written as a movie script and a dairy of Steve.The reader takes the part of the jury who decides if Steve is guilty or not, but they have more then facts.They also know about the feeling of Steve.
The book is very interesting, because it is different from other novels.It is not a fictionl story but a realistic novel which is discript.The novel is hard to read because there are lots of characters. All in all i like the book, because it shows the real life of young peopel who live in a ghetto.It is interesting to find out if Steve is guilty or not because it is not directly said in the book and so we do not know ifSreve is a good person.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Audience's decision June 2 2005
Format:Paperback
The book has a maincharacter whose name is Steve harmon and he is on trial because he is involved in a robbery in which a man named Mr Nesbitt died. But the problem of the story is if Steve Harmon is also guilty because he didn't kill Mr Nesbitt. James King and Richard Evans, named "Bobo" planned the robbery and they wanted Steve to give the signal if somebody went into the drugstore, where the robbery took place. Now Steve is accused of felony murder. He didn't directly kill someone, but he also didn't do anythink to stop the fight between Mr Nesbitt and James King and so he "helped" to kill someone. But it is also not directly proven that Steve was there or if he gave a signal and now the prosecutor Mrs Petrocelli wants Steve to go in jail, because in her eyes he's also guilty like the others.
In my opinion the book is in fact boring but in the end you can discuss the guilt of Steve and this makes it more interesting because the reader is also someiknd of a juror and so you have to decide on your own if Steve is guilty or innocent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MONSTER July 13 2004
Format:Paperback
Monster
This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I don't usually like reading books. I know you have heard that many times before but when you hear it from me you know its true because I absolutely despise reading.
This book is based on a true story: Three men planned a robbery at the local drug store in which the local drug store clerk was shot and killed. Now these three men are on trial and one of them is innocent, can you tell who? One of the characters is Steve. He was one of the three being convicted of murder. Whether or not he was guilty, you'll just have to see for yourself. Evans was another of the three that were on trial for felony murder. And James King is the last main character that is on trial for murdering the store clerk.
This book is good because all of these characters seem realistic. The author describes how appropriately they dressed for their court trials. The way that the author talks about the characters makes me able to picture the characters in my head. " Cut To: Steve Harmon getting dressed in his cell wearing a tie and button up shirt". The author also makes the murder scene real because the police go through the proper procedure that they normally would at a regular murder scene.
The court case also seems true, Mostly because the book is written in play form, with characters being given dialogue and actions. Its almost like its being written by a court reporter.
The way that this book was written was the first thing that jumped out at me because it is so realistic. You can picture the man or woman who is talking. However there were some flaws to the way it was written because the narrative alternates between third person play form and first person diary format making parts of the book hard to understand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MONSTER July 13 2004
Format:Paperback
Monster
This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I don't usually like reading books. I know you have heard that many times before but when you hear it from me you know its true because I absolutely despise reading.
This book is based on a true story: Three men planned a robbery at the local drug store in which the local drug store clerk was shot and killed. Now these three men are on trial and one of them is innocent, can you tell who? One of the characters is Steve. He was one of the three being convicted of murder. Whether or not he was guilty, you'll just have to see for yourself. Evans was another of the three that were on trial for felony murder. And James King is the last main character that is on trial for murdering the store clerk.
This book is good because all of these characters seem realistic. The author describes how appropriately they dressed for their court trials. The way that the author talks about the characters makes me able to picture the characters in my head. " Cut To: Steve Harmon getting dressed in his cell wearing a tie and button up shirt". The author also makes the murder scene real because the police go through the proper procedure that they normally would at a regular murder scene.
The court case also seems true, Mostly because the book is written in play form, with characters being given dialogue and actions. Its almost like its being written by a court reporter.
The way that this book was written was the first thing that jumped out at me because it is so realistic. You can picture the man or woman who is talking. However there were some flaws to the way it was written because the narrative alternates between third person play form and first person diary format making parts of the book hard to understand.
Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars zzzz boring
This book started off o.k. but I lost interest quickly. It is boring to say the least. The only reason it gets two stars - one for the message it sends teens that by simply being... Read more
Published on April 16 2009 by Yoyo Mama
5.0 out of 5 stars Monster : Review
The book Monster by Walter Dean Myers was an amazing book on, how a young boy can make him spend the rest of his life in jail. Read more
Published on March 31 2008 by 7C
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Sixteen-year-old Steve is on trial for murder. But he's having trouble understanding why. "What did I do? I walked into a drugstore to look for some mints, and then I walked out. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2007 by TeensReadToo
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty or not?!?
The book "Monster" is written by Walter Dean Myers and is about an african-american boy called Steve, woh is on trialHe is accused of murder and robbery but nobody knows... Read more
Published on June 8 2005 by 51 aus Reineckendorf
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Book "Monster"...
Steve Harmon is a 16-jears-old black Boy. He is on trail because he took part in a robbery where one man was killed...
The book doesn`t really say if he is guilty or not. Read more
Published on June 8 2005 by Manuel Pohl (thiago88@web.de)
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve is Innocent
The Book "Monster" written by Walter Dean Myers is about a young African American whose name is Steve Harman and who, is on trail because of taking part in a murder. Read more
Published on June 2 2005 by Mr.Tarik
2.0 out of 5 stars Only because I'm black
The book ''Monster'' is written by Walter Dean Myers.The main charackter of this book is Steve Harmon. He is a black guy who is accused for a robbery and murder. Read more
Published on June 2 2005 by Bora Emre
4.0 out of 5 stars Is he really guilty?
Steve is accused, with 4 other people, of killing a drungstore-owner.
Is he really guilty? This question goes throught the whole book. Read more
Published on June 2 2005 by monster03
3.0 out of 5 stars Am I innocent because Ia not guilty
The book "Monster" written by Walter Dean Myers is about the sixteen years old Steve Harmon who is on trial for murder. Read more
Published on June 2 2005 by lubna
3.0 out of 5 stars Guilty or not ?
The book "Monter" is written by Walter Dean Myers is about a boy called Steve Harmon who is on trail for murder. Read more
Published on June 2 2005 by freak
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