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Monster Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Myers, Walter Dean, Myers, Christopher (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0064407314     ISBN-13: 9780064407311
Publisher: Amistad Pr
    OUR PRICE: $9.89  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: May 2001
Annotation: Young, black, 16-year-old Steve Harmon, an amateur filmmaker, is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. Steve copes by writing a movie script based on his trial. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred until he can no longer tell who he is or what the truth is. Illustrations.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Trials (Murder); Fiction.
Prisons; Fiction.
Self-perception; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2005271749
Lexile Measure: 670
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.00" H x 5.00" W x 0.75" (0.60 lbs)
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 29945
Reading Level: 5.1   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 5.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q13966
Reading Level: 7.1   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 7.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:

Steve (Voice-Over) Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady prosecutor called me ... Monster.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1999 #3)
Arrested and charged with murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is writing a screenplay of his ordeal. Interspersed with his handwritten journal entries, Steve's script makes up a novel that in both form and subject guarantees a wide teen audience. Balancing courtroom drama and a sordid jailhouse setting with flashbacks to the robbery that resulted in a shopkeeper's murder, Myers adeptly allows each character to speak for him or herself, leaving readers to judge for themselves the truthfulness of the defendants, witnesses, lawyers, and, most compel-lingly, Steve himself. Did Steve serve as a lookout for the robbery? Was he in the store at all? Through all the finessing and obfuscation of the trial process, readers will find plenty of evidence for a variety of conflicting opinions. Even the cri de coeur in Steve's journal leaves plenty of room for interpretation: "I didn't do nothing! I didn't do nothing!" Tailor-made for readers' theater, this book is a natural to get teens reading-and talking. r.s. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1999 April #1)
In this riveting courtroom drama, Steve Harmon, a Harlem teenager involved in a murder, recounts his trial in the form of a movie script. The objectivity with which he records testimony and flashbacks of events leading up to the crime ("Steve is sitting on a bench, and James King sits with him. King is bleary-eyed and smokes a joint as he talks") belies the deep emotions Steve expresses in his prison journal: "I go to bed every night terrified out of my mind. I have nightmares whenever I close my eyes." Readers will not question the 16-year-old's relationship to the crime; that is established early in the novel. However, opinions will vary as to whether Steve deserves sympathy or rebuke. Myers (Scorpions; Somewhere in the Darkness) masterfully conveys the complexity of Steve's character by presenting numerous angles of his personality. From the prosecuting attorney's point of view, he is a "monster." According to a character witness, Steve's high-school film teacher, Steve is "an outstanding young man... talented, bright, and compassionate." The only person who does not offer a clear, pat appraisal of Steve is Steve himself. Even after the verdict is delivered he is not able to make sense of who he is: the final image of him filming himself as he gazes into a mirror, searching for his identity ("I want to look at myself a thousand times to look for one true image") will leave a powerful, haunting impression on young minds. This would make an ideal companion to Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy for an insightful look at a teenage suspect's lost innocence. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1999 July)
Gr 7 Up-Steve Harmon, 16, is accused of serving as a lookout for a robbery of a Harlem drugstore. The owner was shot and killed, and now Steve is in prison awaiting trial for murder. From there, he tells about his case and his incarceration. Many elements of this story are familiar, but Myers keeps it fresh and alive by telling it from an unusual perspective. Steve, an amateur filmmaker, recounts his experiences in the form of a movie screenplay. His striking scene-by-scene narrative of how his life has dramatically changed is riveting. Interspersed within the script are diary entries in which the teen vividly describes the nightmarish conditions of his confinement. Myers expertly presents the many facets of his protagonist's character and readers will find themselves feeling both sympathy and repugnance for him. Steve searches deep within his soul to prove to himself that he is not the "monster" the prosecutor presented him as to the jury. Ultimately, he reconnects with his humanity and regains a moral awareness that he had lost. Christopher Myers's superfluous black-and-white drawings are less successful. Their grainy, unfocused look complements the cinematic quality of the text, but they do little to enhance the story. Monster will challenge readers with difficult questions, to which there are no definitive answers. In some respects, the novel is reminiscent of Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy (DK Ink, 1998), another book enriched by its ambiguity. Like it, Monster lends itself well to classroom or group discussion. It's an emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing.-Edward Sullivan, New York Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.