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Monster by Walter Dean Myers
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Monster (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Walter Dean Myers

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2,9352371,959 (3.67)1 / 50
Monster is a young adult drama-novel by Walter Dean Myers and published by Harper Collins in 1999. While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and courtroom. In this novel he tries to come into terms with the course his life has taken. Steve Harmon is accused of acting as lookout for a robbery that left a victim dead; if convicted, Steve could serve 25 years to life. Although it is clear that Steve did participate in the robbery, his level of involvement is questionable, leaving protagonist and reader to grapple with the question of his guilt. An amateur filmmaker, Steve tells his story in a combination of film script and journal.
Myers combines an innovative format, complex moral issues, and an intriguingly sympathetic but flawed protagonist in this cautionary tale. The “handwritten” font of the journal entries effectively uses boldface and different sizes of type to emphasize particular passages, but makes the novel hard to read. The film script uses movie script jargon, such as camera angles (CU, POV, etc.), and explains each term when they first appear. Myer’s son, Christopher provides the black-and-white photos, often cropped and digitally altered, that complement the text. The script and journal create a fascinating portrait of a terrified young man wrestling with his conscience. The tense drama of the courtroom scenes will enthrall readers and question the complex morals in the novel. Descriptions of the robbery and prison life are realistic, but not overly graphic. The subject matter is more appropriate for high-school students because of the portrayal of violence, such as prisons, fatal shooting, murder, robbery, etc. Grades 9-12
  ydestura | May 20, 2012 |
Showing 1-25 of 237 (next | show all)
Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. As a way to hold it together through his terrible nights in prison and the stress of the trial, he records events as part diary and as though he were writing a movie script about his life. It was an interesting structure and fits with Steve's personality, since one of his passions is to make films. But while the structure suits the character, it also created emotional distance from me, like I was looking at events through a lens instead of getting into Steve's head. The most moving moments in the novel were those written in diary format, where we were able to see more than just the surface and really get into his head. ( )
  andreablythe | May 18, 2015 |
This is a multicultural novel about a man who is wrongly put in jail and also on trial for the killing of police officer during a robbery. He writes his point of view in jail as a script like a play of what would have been acted out from his point of view. He is wrongly put in jail and ends up being released as innocent. This book goes through his trial and how he has to prove that he is innocent. He goes through a lot of pain and anxiety and he tells us his point of view in his wrongful accusation of killing a police officer. This is an example of a realistic fiction book. ( )
  sarahetuemmler | Apr 20, 2015 |
This book was about a man who was put on trial for being involved in a murder. It is written in movie script. It shares all of the recorded court proceedings. It also includes journal entries about what happened that day that the victim was murdered. Everyone just assumes that this man was involved because he is black. This makes him feel like a monster, even though he claims he didn't do anything. His attorney fights for his innocence, and in the end they win. This book was fantasy. ( )
  NatalieCJones | Apr 19, 2015 |
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".

Awards:
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 |
Monster offers a unique look into the judicial system through the eyes of a sixteen year old charged as an accessory to felony murder. I thought that the journal added more charter to the story and was a major part of the story. the format was a little off but didn't effect me much. this book kept my interest throughout the whole book. and was really happy to see how the ending turned out. I sagest this book to anyone that likes realistic fiction. I think this book is great for high school students, because it give them a look into the judicial system and how bad there life after high school will be effected by the choice they make in high school ( )
  football50 | Jan 27, 2015 |
Gritty and at times difficult to read, Monster offers a unique look into the judicial system through the eyes of a sixteen year old charged as an accessory to felony murder. The book's display of it, through screen writing and a diary format, is refreshing and adds to the realism portrayed. It also leaves characters up to interpretation and many things unclear in the reader's mind, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. This very impactful book is one that will make you think about what it means to be guilty and what a life is worth. ( )
  andrew69 | Jan 20, 2015 |
An interesting book told in an unusual format. I believe that this will speak to high school students (especially any who have become inadvertently tangled in a scenario they didn't much care for). I highly recommend the dramatic audiobook. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 11, 2014 |
So I confess, I read this book because I encountered it on a list of book someone felt young people should not read (because of the references to violence and prison rape, apparently). As I'm a little rebellious, I took note of the titles which sounded particularly dicey and requested this one from the library. After finishing this book, I must say that I completely disagree with the opinion that this book should not be read. Monster chronicles a young man accused of a crime through the creative means of a diary and screenplay he writes about his trial. Yes, there is violence and rape in this book, but even more powerful is the critique of the social system - which might have been the real reason this book ended up on a Do-Not-Read List. On the contrary, I found it well-worth the read. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 27, 2014 |
Reread in 2014....can say it's any better. Checked it out from the library to read along with the African American read along for February....because I forgot that I had read it. This wouldn't typically be a "must reread!"

Read it as a potential to read with students...It's ok in that sense (the read with students sense)...but not life-altering.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Reread in 2014....can say it's any better. Checked it out from the library to read along with the African American read along for February....because I forgot that I had read it. This wouldn't typically be a "must reread!"

Read it as a potential to read with students...It's ok in that sense (the read with students sense)...but not life-altering.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Monster by Walter Dean Myers Illustrator Walter Dean Myers
Published HarperCollins Publishers, 2004: 281 Pages Realistic Fiction Harmon who is on trial for being part of a robbery and a murder. He writes down what is doing on as a movie screen, and writes journals as side notes. In the end he is found innocent but he still feels bad about what all has happened. I didn’t enjoy this book was not as light hearted and fun as the other books but I do believe it still has its place to teach a lesson in youth.
  joey_spencer | May 13, 2014 |
Bibliographic Information: Walter Dean Myers, “Monster”, Illustrated by Christopher Myers, Published by HarperCollins, ©1999, 281 pages
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Summary: Steve Harman is a sixteen black boy who is in jail for murder. He describes everything in a notebook set up like a film. He was supposed to be the guy that goes into the pharmacy and tell the guys if it was clear. In the pharmacy though he changed his mind and didn’t return the signal. He talks about what it is like in prison and describes how horrible it is. This book has multiple setting in court, in the cell, in a film class and etc. Steve ends up not being guilty but forever changed.
Tags: Prison, struggle, life, hurt
My Response: I really enjoyed this book for the story but not for how it was set up. I found it hard to read and follow along with. It was easy to read how we read it in class where everybody had a part. The way Steve describes prison is very vivid and scary. I know if students read this in high school or junior high they would probably relook at how they do things.
  EmilyBascio | May 5, 2014 |
Gritty and at times difficult to read, Monster offers a unique look into the judicial system through the eyes of a sixteen year old charged as an accessory to felony murder. The book's display of it, through screen writing and a diary format, is refreshing and adds to the realism portrayed. It also leaves characters up to interpretation and many things unclear in the reader's mind, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

The illustrations also help pull the story together, along with the mental images provided through the script format.

It was an easy read, taking me less time than normal, and although it was, as I've stated, difficult to read at times, one had to know how it ended, had to know whether he was found guilty or not guilty. Coming from a background in Justice Studies, the legal system was more familiar to me than perhaps to other readers and I could see how the arguments were going to proceed before they actually did. This tended to eliminate more suspense than I'd have liked.

All in all, it was a decent book, rather disturbing to be a young adult novel. ( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
Gritty and at times difficult to read, Monster offers a unique look into the judicial system through the eyes of a sixteen year old charged as an accessory to felony murder. The book's display of it, through screen writing and a diary format, is refreshing and adds to the realism portrayed. It also leaves characters up to interpretation and many things unclear in the reader's mind, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

The illustrations also help pull the story together, along with the mental images provided through the script format.

It was an easy read, taking me less time than normal, and although it was, as I've stated, difficult to read at times, one had to know how it ended, had to know whether he was found guilty or not guilty. Coming from a background in Justice Studies, the legal system was more familiar to me than perhaps to other readers and I could see how the arguments were going to proceed before they actually did. This tended to eliminate more suspense than I'd have liked.

All in all, it was a decent book, rather disturbing to be a young adult novel. ( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Title: Monster
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
No Illustrator
1999
281 pages
Literary Genre:
This book is about a guy named Steve Harmon who is on trial and for convicted of robbery, I think? Throughout the story he ends up not getting tried and gets set free.
I would not recommend this book. I have absolutely no fun reading it and at times thought it was hard to read. But others might be different and actually enjoy it and like it.
  MaeghanS | Mar 31, 2014 |
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Title: Monster
Illustrator: Walter Dean Myers
Publisher: Amistad
Date: 2004
Pages: 281
Type: Realistic Fiction
Summary: This book is about a young man named Steve Harmon who is on trial for acting in a murder. He writes down everything that happens to him during this trial and plans to make it into a movie once it is all over. He writes down everything that happens to him. He ends up being innocent and is set free. But even though he is free he wonders if people still see him as a monster.

I had a hard time understanding this book at first because it is made like a movie. But after I took the time to read through it carefully I actually enjoyed it. It is a great book, which lets the reader decide themselves if he is innocent or guilty.
  emfro20 | Mar 25, 2014 |
Title Monster
Author Walter Dean Myers
Illustrator Walter Dean Myers
Publisher Harper Collins
Date 2004
Pg Numbers 304

Realistic Fiction
Summary of main plot: This book is about Steve who is in jail because he took part in the killing of Mr. Nesbitt in the convenient store with two other boys named Bolden and King. This book Steve writes like a movie and he writes the book of what all he sees while in jail.
The content and theme of this book is a lot to do with the justice system and makes you think what is right and wrong in the justice system also. A tag and subject heading in this book that makes me think this is when Steve finally admits that he did go into the convenient store but before he said that he told the jury he didn't go into the store so he basically lied under oath. I think a lot of people thought he was guilty and that he didn't actually kill Nesbitt that the other two guys did until he wrote down that he was in the store.
My Response to the book: I liked the book I mean it was okay I am not really that interested in the whole justice system stuff but it was an okay read I thought. one thing I didn't like was the layout of the book the way it was laid out as a movie confused me while I was reading it but other then that it was alright. ( )
  Mihalevich | Mar 17, 2014 |
Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Illustrations by Christopher Myers. Copy right 1999. Publisher HarperCollins publishers. pages 281.

Type of Book: Realistic Fiction

Summary: A sixteen year old African American boy is on trial for being an accomplice to a murder. He was supposedly the one that scoped the place out for cops before the robbery took place. Steve Harmon is his name and he records his experiences throughout the trial and in prison in the form of a film. He is also trying to figure out the path his life is on and the path his life has taken.

Response: I enjoyed this book very much. It only took me three days to read it. The book is a very easy read and was interesting. I figured out what the ending would be but it was like you were watching it on t.v. like you would any televised court hearing. I thought this book was awesome.
  singleton2012 | Mar 2, 2014 |
Very intense novel about a young 16 year-old black boy from Harlem, Steve, who is on trial for murder. Told through a screenplay and Steve's diary entry, this very impactful book is one that will make you think about what it means to be guilty and what a life is worth. ( )
  smheatherly2 | Nov 24, 2013 |
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.
  rgruberexcel | Nov 2, 2013 |
I think this book really helps young people understand the criminal justice system. Myers uses a screenplay format to tell Steve Harmon's story, which makes the book easier to read . I often recommend this book to my more reluctant male readers, and 9 times out of ten, they really enjoy it. ( )
  YvetteKolstad | May 6, 2013 |
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