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Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Walter Dean Myers

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3,1312801,794 (3.68)1 / 53
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 |
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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 |
Monster is a great criminal mystery following a 16 year old boy convicted for a crime he did or did not do. I personally loved this book because it kept me guessing. Throughout the book I grew close to Steve and felt great sympathy for him. I really appreciated the script like layout of the story because it added to the action and was a very easy to follow. I would for sure recommend this book for those interested in law in order or crime shows, or middle schoolers branching out for new genres. ( )
1 vote MorganGuess | Apr 26, 2016 |
Monster is a quick read for many middle level readers. Walter Dean Myers engages readers in an interesting way with this book. The book is written as a screenplay where the main character shares his experience while on trial for murder. The book is narrated by Steve Harmon so the reader understand his thoughts and perspective, but because the book is written as a screenplay the reader learns of the setting, other characters, and plot developments via stage directions and descriptive camera work. Aside from being written in an interesting way, this book will expose teens to some of the social injustices of young black males in urban areas. Monster is a great book to recommend to transitional readers because of its fast pace and highly engaging plot line.
  jstrecker | Apr 18, 2016 |
Monster was about a 16-year-old African American boy in New York who was being convicted for a crime involving theft and the death of a store owner. What makes this a peculiar book is not only its premise, but its format. From the point of view of the boy on trial, readers are intrigued by the fast-paced tendencies of the book written in the style of a screenplay. It added a lot to the story, as it could have gotten bogged down in the minute details. Instead, Myers kept it flowing quickly and excitingly.
Uses: This dealt with a lot of heavy topics, but I think I wouldn't be unwilling to read through it with and 8th grade English class (assuming we got the permission of parents). It opens the door for the discussion of a lot of topics that need to be wrestled with as early as possible in life.
  meggienell | Apr 15, 2016 |
Monster, this book was a very interesting book but also kind of confuing.I persoanlly didn't really like the book because it was hard to follow in my opinion. The book is about an innocent man who was murdered because of a few African Amerian kids that wanted to steal. The main character of the book believes he is innocent, he believes he has nothing to fo with the murder of the man while the other guys on trial say that he had something to do with it. He tells his lawyer is innocent and and eventually is decalred innocent by the jury. At the end of the book something weird happens, he says that the lawyer looked at him with dissapoinment, this makes me wonder if he is actually innocent or not. ( )
  hannahwatkins | Apr 6, 2016 |
Steve Harmon is a 16 year old boy that is accused for being associated with a robbery and murder. If he is found guilty he could be given the death penalty or life in prison. The story is delivered through the form of a play and transfers back and forth from Steve Harmon's diary, to the court trial and even some of his flashbacks. It is a long ongoing trial that ends in Steve found not guilty which allows him to move on and have the life he always wanted. I was able to really see a different side of things when i read the thoughts of Steve in his diary and also was able to create my own opinion through the flashbacks and trial. In the beginning it was hard to understand who was who but as the book went on i was able to feel the concern, tension and distress (mood) all the characters had.
GENRE: Drama Novel
USE: Life in prison
How trials work
  japodaca14 | Mar 30, 2016 |
A 16-year-old African American teenager Steve was on his trial for felony murder from a robbery. There are several young adults who were in their 20s involved in this case and were found guilty, except for Steve was acquitted finally.
Genre: Multicultural book
Use in Classroom: 1 discussing the relative or subjective nature of the truth with critical thinking;
2 act out the case.
Media: screenplay ( )
  CarolLuo | Mar 29, 2016 |
Monster is a great book! The book is a little challenging for kids under the age of 13, Although this book outstanding I read this book nearly everyday I am close to the end. But this book is good for people that's into criminal things that has to do with the court! #5starsfromme keep the books coming buddy! ( )
  22tarvei | Mar 17, 2016 |
Monster is an exceptional book written by Walter Dean Myers. The setting of this book takes place in Harlem, New York. Steve Harmon is the main character. He goes through many trials and tribulations. This all begins when Steve is at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is accused of committing a murder that he was not involved in. Steve will tell his side of the story and leave the readers feeling fear and sorrow. Not only is Steve affected by this situation, but also his family. The plot of this book will draw you and have you feeling as if you were a member of the jury. So you decided, is Steve Harmon guilty or not guilty?I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for something different to read. Its a quick read, but also a thrilling read. ( )
1 vote TaylorHoward | Feb 25, 2016 |
As a former legal secretary, I always felt criminal attorneys had a job that often included defending the guilty. In this book I believe there is more guilt for the main character than he admits to. Which of course is much the same as in real life?

Curricular connection: Students learn chronicling and creating a short film based on an event of their life.
  sanm277 | Feb 22, 2016 |
Monster by Walter Dean Meyers is touching and thought provoking. I offers different accounts to a real life shoplifting that eventually became a murder with 16 year old Steven Harmon being accused of felony murder. I like that our class read the book but some came away with one opinion of his innocence, while others had a totally different view. I'd recommend this book and offer it to children who are looking for something in regards to the writing style. ( )
1 vote Undray | Feb 21, 2016 |
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is the story of a court trial of a young boy. Myers works with the idea of how perception can change people. A truly great novel for both young adults and active readers. ( )
1 vote TheBigHuckabowski | Feb 17, 2016 |
Monster is a great book about a guy named Steve, who may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Walter Dean Myers decides to let the reader decide for themselves whether Steve is an actual monster or not. The book is really interesting because it is written in a unique script style, which is like watching the movie play out in your head. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries and trying to figure out a character because this book is something you may want to read twice just to catch every detail. Great book. ( )
1 vote IeshaDavis | Feb 15, 2016 |
This is a realistic fiction novel about a young teen who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time with some friends. His life is forever changed when he has to face going to trial for something he didn't even do and live life behind bars in a orange jump suit. I strongly recommend this book. i really enjoyed it!
  cancan22 | Feb 15, 2016 |
Monster was a very enjoyable book to me that was a very easy read. I enjoyed the way this novel was written it was a lot like a play. I think this is what made this book so interesting, it was like reading someones diary. This novel tells about the story of a boy named Steve. Steve is on trial for murder the book goes on to let us try to figure out if he is innocent or guilty. I really liked the suspense and drama this book has to offer. I was always wanting to read the next chapter sitting on the edge of my seat. One thing i did not like about this book was that that it did not provide enough evidence to prove that he was guilty or innocent. It was really hard for me to agree to one side, and I did not like how the ending did not inform us on what actually happened to Steve. I wish the author would have carried out the ending a little bit more instead of giving us a cliff hanger. This was a book i enjoyed reading and mainly reading about Steve's character as well as his thoughts on what he thinks about himself being a "monster."
1 vote reganbounds | Feb 15, 2016 |
I really enjoyed reading Monster! It's about a boy named Steve who gets caught up in a situation that lands him in jail for felony murder. I loved how it was not written like your typical book and had a script setup. This book is really entertaining and makes you feel as though you are in the court room. I believe that Steve was innocent because their just wasn't enough evidence against him. The author did a wonderful job and I would recommend reading this book! ( )
1 vote HopeGilbert | Feb 15, 2016 |
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a book about a boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is on trial for being involved in a robbery that resulted in the loss of a life. As the story develops the readers learn more about the main character Steve. By the end of this story some think he is guilty and others think he is innocent.

I believe that Steve is not guilty. First off, there is not enough evidence to find him guilty. Secondly, a lady testified saying she never saw him in the store when supposedly he was the look out. If he was doing his job he would have seen this woman. I think he is just misunderstood and it was easy for the thugs to pin it on him. I think he was just brought up in the wrong neighborhood and he is looking for a way out.

This is a great easy read and very interesting. ( )
1 vote HeatherHayes | Feb 15, 2016 |
This book is a little different than most, mainly because of the type of writing style. This book is in the point of view of Steven Harmon, a teenage boy on trial for murder. Steven is also a film student at his local high school so he writes this book the way he would write a movie script. Throughout the whole book Steven is telling us and describing to us what is presently going on in his trial, with several flashbacks of his life before the murder/robbery. I gave this book four stars because although I really liked the story line, the movie script writing style was hard to follow sometimes. ( )
  ker2015 | Feb 15, 2016 |
Walter Dean Myers' novel Monster is the story of a young man named Steve on trial for murder. The novel is told from his point of view as a movie script that he has written. There are also journal entries throughout of his time in jail. This story addresses the struggles of race and the present day judicial system, both topics that adolescents need to be well-read on. Steve's story is that he agreed to scope out a drug store for cops before his buddies robbed it. All he did was buy mints and leave; unfortunately, the clerk ends up being murdered, and through association, Steve is a suspect in the crime, which is now much more serious than robbery. Once in court, he has conflicting stories with what the reader thinks. Is he innocent or guilty? ( )
1 vote CaseyJane | Feb 14, 2016 |
Monster by Walter Dean Myers was very interesting. I say that it is interesting because of how it is written and the story, It took a little time getting used to reading in a script type writing style, but once I got used to it I liked it. The story is interesting because Steve in on trial for helping in a murder. He writes the trial like a screenplay from his point of view, so you do not really get the full story, or even the full truth. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers and up. This book can be very help for some people to make sure they hang out with the right crowd because with some people you may not know what is going on, but you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. ( )
1 vote TSouza | Feb 14, 2016 |
I really enjoyed Monster by Walter Dean Myers.The book is written like a play--which i was very skeptical about at first. The story took place in a courtroom where a trial was going on for a murder. There was occasional flashbacks to scenes that happened before the time of the crime. You got stories from each of the characters involved with the crime. This books strengths was that it was very easy to read. I especially enjoyed how the main character, Stephen, wrote in a journal and you could read his thoughts that were put in his journal. I also really enjoyed how the text in the journal was a handwritten font that was different from the font of the rest of the book--it made you feel like you were really reading exactly what he had written. The weakness of this book i would have to say is the fact that you are kind of left not knowing if Stephen is truly guilty or innocent. Overall, i enjoyed this book so much. the characters were well developed and the way the book was laid out into a play made it feel real. ( )
1 vote tabbyle15 | Feb 14, 2016 |
"Monster," by Walter Dean Myers, is a realistic-fiction novel based on Myers real-life experiences with a court trial. The main character, Steve, is put on trial for accessory to murder; however, the readers do not know if he is guilty or not. Instead of re-telling the events using natural dialogue and 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person point of view, Steve tells his story through a screen play he is writing. The script of the movie gives the readers an almost unbiased view of the events that unfold in the court room. Steve also provides journal entries where readers are able to see into Steve's own thoughts. Although readers feel like the end of the story was never revealed, Myers' unique storytelling touches on many realistic issues society is dealing with today.
1 vote MadyMcLay | Feb 13, 2016 |
The book "Monster" by Walter Dean Myers is about a young boy named Steve Harmon who is on trial for murder along with Richard Evans and James King. King and Evans are known for being no good but Steve comes from a good family, so people are surprised when he is a suspect in this case. On December 22nd, there was a robbery and a murder, but King, Evans, and Steve all have different opinions of how it all happened. At the end, it is up to the reader to decide who is innocent and who is guilty. I thought this was a fast read but it was very interesting and I would recommend everyone to try it out. ( )
1 vote Malorie.2016 | Feb 11, 2016 |
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