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Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Walter Dean Myers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3953151,593 (3.7)1 / 55
Authors:Walter Dean Myers
Info:Amistad (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 281 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1999)


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Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
This is a book about a teenager who is scared to death, because he is in the prison system. He hears inmates get sexually assaulted and beat up at night. His way of coping is by turning the trial and the prison experience as a movie, each separate event a different scene he has staged. It hits a painful chord when the main character explains that his lawyer is trying to make him, a teenager, seem “human” in the eyes of the jury. I don’t think many adults are willing to acknowledge that we live in a time and place where a teenage boy is seen as a monster, less than human. But it’s the reality many teens live, in school to prison pipelines, and in a world where youth of color are disproportionately incarcerated, compared to their white peers. This book is written in the main characters words, in the way a teenager would phrase his thoughts. For adults, this book depicts the way a teen would feel moving through a court case, and a unique perspective into how much youth of color have to fight to prove their innocence, as they are presumed guilty from the beginning of a trial. Teens who have friends or families in the prison system may feel like they have some representation of their lives. There really are few books like this that exist, which is why I gave it a 5 instead of 4 star review.
( )
  GabbyF | Jul 2, 2017 |
Interesting style for both reading and listening, and it works well for a novel written during the height of the Law & Order craze, but it needed more story. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Jun 27, 2017 |
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-ole Stave Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.
This is a realistic fiction because the story is about something that could actually happen “in the now” and it also includes social and personal concerns in a fully human context like an African American boy' life in prison.
The pictures are done in pencil and digital photos.
Comments on use:
Encouraging students to think about all issues appeared in the book.
Expanding students' thinking of life
Age appropriateness:
middle school
  ShanGao | Apr 11, 2017 |
Review: this book is about a young black boy name Steve Harmon. He is facing the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. The story is written in a movie script that describes his thoughts and feeling about drugstore owner's death. The book included lots of his handwriting journals and the process of his trail. I think it is a good book because it reflects racial issues that some people, especially minority people, are unfairly treated by law enforcement.
Genre: critical literature and historical fiction Because the story is about racial and it may actually happened in the past years
Age app: High shchool
media: Ink ( )
  carolinechen0608 | Apr 7, 2017 |
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age: Intermediate (7-8)
In the courts of New York, an African-American boy is facing charges of murder alongside one other. The story is written in a play like a mode describing his thoughts and feeling about everything that is happening.
This is Realistic Fiction because it occurs in our time now, and is a true story. I am not sure if all the facts are true and we only see his point of view and only hear his thoughts.
1) To talk about racial divides and what they are in the book
2) Discuss whether he did help or not help with this murder
Ill. Media: Ink? ( )
  Josh17 | Apr 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
This book was good in my opinion. There were a lot of comments on the way the book was written, but I personally enjoyed it. It was a unique format and well written. The fact that he spent lots of time in prison helps make his story seem more real.
added by m.marie.g | editMSU AdolLit, Michelle Green

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter Dean Myersprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 2 descriptions

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