Monster Hardcover – Apr 21 1999
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
By structuring the book as a movie script being written by the character as he spends his days in prison, faces his jury, prepares with his lawyer, confronts his mother and father, and, most importantly, examines his own life, Myers presents Steve as a talented young man who may have made a single poor choice. However, Myers retains conflict necessary for building a compelling storyline by having Steve refuse to acknowledge his part in Mr. Nesbitt's death. The result is that the reader wants to sympathize with the teen, but cannot help but wonder, if Steve truly does not understand why what he did was wrong, what is going to keep him from going astray in the future? Maybe, as the prosecutor stated, Steve really is a monster.
Overall, MONSTER sends an excellent message to young adults: You, and only you, are responsible for the choices you make, and the consequences for those choices may ultimately affect not only the rest of your life, but the lives of the people around you--and maybe those you do not even know. Therefore, think about what you are doing, consider the consequences of your actions, and choose wisely.
Boston Globe--Horn Book Awards, Honor Book,1999
Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Fiction, Finalist 1999
Coretta Scott King Awards, Honor Book, 2000
Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Nominee, Best Young Adult Novel, 2000
Michael L. Printz Award, Winner, 2000
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Grades 9-12, Winner, 2002
Reviewed by: Mechele R. Dillard
I like this book because it was easy to relate to. This was easy to relate to because this was based on a true story. You can relate to the charters by the mistakes you could of made in the pass. This book also makes you think about what you would go through in jail. They do that by showing what he was writing about in jail. In the book Steve Harmon went to jail for murder and in real life people go to jail all the time for murder.
So overall monster was an amazing book, because of the detail and expression used through out the book. Also the charters were easy to relate to. So at the end this book was an amazing book.
$$ cash money $$
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.
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.
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on April 16 2009 by Yoyo Mama
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 morePublished on June 8 2005 by 51 aus Reineckendorf
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
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 morePublished on June 2 2005 by Mr.Tarik
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 morePublished on June 2 2005 by Bora Emre
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
The book "Monster" written by Walter Dean Myers is about the sixteen years old Steve Harmon who is on trial for murder. Read morePublished on June 2 2005 by lubna
The book "Monter" is written by Walter Dean Myers is about a boy called Steve Harmon who is on trail for murder. Read morePublished on June 2 2005 by freak
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