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Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Walter Dean Myers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2002811,740 (3.68)1 / 53
Authors:Walter Dean Myers
Info:Amistad (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 281 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:crime, African American, second chance, teenager

Work details

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1999)


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The prosecutor refers to Steve Harmon as a "monster" while on trial, accused of taking part in a drug store robbery that became a murder. Walter Dean Myers writes the book alternating between Steve's handwritten journal entries (written in prison) and a screenplay he creates to document the trial and distance himself from the harsh reality of his situation. The reader almost feels like a juror, trying to make sense of varying "truths" presented. The book addresses the interplay of social conditions, race, and the judicial system in a way that challenges the reader while Steve wrestles with morality and his own truth. ( )
  tina_w | Jul 30, 2016 |
I really loved this book by Walter Dean Myers. The way this book is set up, it is designed of us to think about what is going to happen next.The main character is faced with a hardship, and we see what he is thinking throughout this process. This book shows us to always be careful of our surroundings and who we call our friends. Even though, what I thought was going to be the ending verdict was wrong, I honestly believe that we will always question what is going on in the book. ( )
  toppers24 | Jul 7, 2016 |
Steve Harmon is a teenager in New York City. He is interested in films and making films. One day the cops pick him up at home and charge him with felony murder. He writes a film based on his trial. He is on trial with another person named King. As the trial progresses, Harmon's lawyer says it doesn't look good. The other person on trial is trying to make himself look better by linking himself to Harmon. Harmon must distance himself from King in order to convince the jury he is innocent. ( )
  Kay_Downing | Apr 28, 2016 |
Monster is a novel where a 16 year old boy, Steve Harmon, is accused of being an accomplice in a robbery/murder. Though Steve has a doubtful defense team working to prove his innocence, Steve struggles with whether or not he is actually capable of the title "Monster".This story is depicted as Steve's personal journal and a movie script. This can get confusing because sometimes you may get what Steve feels mixed up with something from the movie script. Though this book didn't personally appeal to me, I think it would be a great read for a high school classroom in how the justice system can work for or against you. I also like the idea of the switch of perspective, however it just didn't translate well for me as a reader. ( )
1 vote LizMBradley | Apr 27, 2016 |
Monster was a great example of a graphic novel to use in the classroom because it exemplifies majority of the qualities that students need to learn about graphic novels as well as provokes the audience's interest because of the suspenseful plot. Parts of the story are told as a movie script, which is different and interesting to grad the readers eye. I also liked the use of poor grammar vs. proper grammar depending on each character and their qualities. Definitely a book where a permission slip would be needed for younger students, but overall a great book for the classroom because it will spark lively discussion and debate throughout it. ( )
  emmaoc | Apr 27, 2016 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:56 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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