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Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster (1999)

by Walter Dean Myers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,8842362,004 (3.68)1 / 47

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In this realistic fiction book, we are told the story of Steve Harmon, a boy who was on trial for felony murder. According to the police report, he had been the person to scope out if there were any police officers in the store that his "friends" wanted to stick up. This book is written like a screen play because Steve was in a film class, and it was his coping mechanism to get through the rough experience of jail, and the trial. Throughout the course of the book we are shown the fear that the boy is feeling, and how his fear is ruling what he is doing. It seems like he is guilty, and I guess that is why he is on trial. After the long and suspenseful trial, and many things leading up to that, we are told that the jury found him not guilty, and he was free to go. ( )
  BethWal94 | Apr 12, 2015 |
BBYA Top 10 2000. YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound. From Amazon.com: "Monster" is what the prosecutor called 16-year-old Steve Harmon for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store owner. To calm his nerves as he sits in the courtroom, aspiring filmmaker Steve chronicles the proceedings in movie script format. RGG: Urban. Black. Male. Compelling. Very Readable
  rgruberhighschool | Mar 28, 2015 |
This is a great and relevant read for any young adult audience. It evokes many feelings, frustrations, and questions. The style (written as a moviescript) pulls you in and helps you visualize the story and understand Steve's point of view. ( )
  EliseMT | Mar 19, 2015 |
Walter Dean Myers had such talent for bringing voices to life that have often been ignored or avoided. In _Monster_, Steve, a sixteen year old from Harlem, NY stands accused of being the look-out in a robbery. The stakes are high - a felony - because the store owner is killed in the commission of the crime. Told in a screenplay format, Steve chronicles his time in jail and the courtroom.

A very quick read, great for reluctant readers! This would be fascinating to pair with the podcast "Serial".

Michael L. Prinz Award (1st recipient)
Coretta Scott-King Illustrator Award Honor Book
National Book Award Honor for Young People's Literature
(source: http://walterdeanmyers.net/bibliography/awards) ( )
  Debra_Armbruster | Feb 15, 2015 |
Steve Harmon is on trial for felony murder. He is accused of being the look out in a robbery that resulted in the storekeeper's death. Before he was arrested, Steve's favorite class was film class. So, he begins to recount his experiences in the form of a screenplay. Interspersed between the portions writing in screen play format are journal entries and black and white photographs. The format makes the novel a quick read as well as a unique experience. This story is realistic due to Myers style and his research. For example, Myers did over 600 pages of interviews with prisoners in preparation for this novel. This book is exemplary for classroom use as is begging to be discussed. Highly recommended for middle school, high school, and public libraries. Try it with reluctant readers. ( )
  MissyAnn | Feb 7, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter Dean Myersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Myers, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To John Brendel for his long friendship
First words
The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help.
I think I finally understand why there are so many fights. In here all you have going for you is the little surface stuff, how people look at you and what they say.

I am so scared. My heart is beating like crazy and I am having trouble breathing.

I want to know who I am.

...what did she see that caused her to turn away?"
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Book description
I appreciated this story, and think it is a good read for young adults. I also think this book has the potential to bring in young readers who may not be that interested in reading. A big idea around the story is decision making and consequences which easily opens up discussion. Additionally, the story is presented and the reader reaches their own decision which would foster debate and interpretation skills within the reader.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064407314, Paperback)

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:51 -0400)

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While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

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