Book Reviews of Monster

Monster
Monster
Author: Walter Dean Myers
ISBN-13: 9780064407311
ISBN-10: 0064407314
Publication Date: 5/1/2001
Pages: 288
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 117

3.6 stars, based on 117 ratings
Publisher: Amistad
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

17 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Monster on
Helpful Score: 4
This book was touching, I cried and I laughed, and I was angry at times with the prosecutors. It seems as if you are there, watching it. I loved the format, as the boy writes the movie. A great piece of literature, if I do say so myself!
reviewed Monster on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
My students enjoy this book. I teach low-level readers at the high school level. This is definitely a high-interest books and I have students coming in from other classes asking to borrow this book because their friend has recommended it to them.
reviewed Monster on
Helpful Score: 2
As a student of playwriting with a degree in broadcast media, I could really appreciate the style of this book. The author writes the entire book in script form - including camera angles, direction, scene set-up, etc. The one thing he does leave to your imagination is the answer to the real question of guilt or innocence. There is no wrapped up happy ending; no resolution to the hard questions. You draw your own conclusions..and then question them for the entire story. This is a unique story that could happen to you your son on any given day in any given city. I read it in one sitting. A fascinating read.
reviewed Monster on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
a unique YA book written in the form of a screenplay. a great way to get today's kids into reading.
reviewed Monster on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is about a teen on trial for murder. It is written as if it could be a play or a movie.
reviewed Monster on
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It's an amazing story. I then suggested it to a friend of mine who is not a good reader. It's a different format and I just love the screen play format. It was attention keeping and exhilarating.
reviewed Monster on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I like the way the writing alternates from movie script style to more of a journal or diary style. It really gives insight into the mind of a 16-year-old who in on trial for murder. It's one of those books that is hard to put down. As a mom, I felt horrified by his behavior, yet also felt sorry for him.
reviewed Monster on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

Sixteen-year-old Steve is on trial for murder. But he's having trouble understanding why. "What did I do? I walked into a drugstore to look for some mints, and then I walked out. What was wrong with that? I didn't kill Mr. Nesbitt"(p. 140). Nothing is wrong with that, of course--unless the purpose of that casual trip was to give the "all clear" for a robbery that ended in the murder of the store's owner. Then, something is very wrong.

By structuring the book as a movie script being written by the character as he spends his days in prison, faces his jury, prepares with his lawyer, confronts his mother and father, and, most importantly, examines his own life, Myers presents Steve as a talented young man who may have made a single poor choice. However, Myers retains conflict necessary for building a compelling storyline by having Steve refuse to acknowledge his part in Mr. Nesbitt's death. The result is that the reader wants to sympathize with the teen, but cannot help but wonder, if Steve truly does not understand why what he did was wrong, what is going to keep him from going astray in the future? Maybe, as the prosecutor stated, Steve really is a monster.

Overall, MONSTER sends an excellent message to young adults: You, and only you, are responsible for the choices you make, and the consequences for those choices may ultimately affect not only the rest of your life, but the lives of the people around you--and maybe those you do not even know. Therefore, think about what you are doing, consider the consequences of your actions, and choose wisely.

Boston Globe--Horn Book Awards, Honor Book,1999

Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Fiction, Finalist 1999

Coretta Scott King Awards, Honor Book, 2000

Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Nominee, Best Young Adult Novel, 2000

Michael L. Printz Award, Winner, 2000

Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Grades 9-12, Winner, 2002
reviewed Monster on + 89 more book reviews
Steve Harmon's black, he's in jail, maybe forever. He's on trial for murder. And he's 16 years old.
A riveting courtroom drama.
reviewed Monster on + 3 more book reviews
Teens- 16 year old on trial for murder
reviewed Monster on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

Sixteen-year-old Steve is on trial for murder. But he's having trouble understanding why. "What did I do? I walked into a drugstore to look for some mints, and then I walked out. What was wrong with that? I didn't kill Mr. Nesbitt"(p. 140). Nothing is wrong with that, of course--unless the purpose of that casual trip was to give the "all clear" for a robbery that ended in the murder of the store's owner. Then, something is very wrong.

By structuring the book as a movie script being written by the character as he spends his days in prison, faces his jury, prepares with his lawyer, confronts his mother and father, and, most importantly, examines his own life, Myers presents Steve as a talented young man who may have made a single poor choice. However, Myers retains conflict necessary for building a compelling storyline by having Steve refuse to acknowledge his part in Mr. Nesbitt's death. The result is that the reader wants to sympathize with the teen, but cannot help but wonder, if Steve truly does not understand why what he did was wrong, what is going to keep him from going astray in the future? Maybe, as the prosecutor stated, Steve really is a monster.

Overall, MONSTER sends an excellent message to young adults: You, and only you, are responsible for the choices you make, and the consequences for those choices may ultimately affect not only the rest of your life, but the lives of the people around you--and maybe those you do not even know. Therefore, think about what you are doing, consider the consequences of your actions, and choose wisely.

Boston Globe--Horn Book Awards, Honor Book,1999

Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Fiction, Finalist 1999

Coretta Scott King Awards, Honor Book, 2000

Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Nominee, Best Young Adult Novel, 2000

Michael L. Printz Award, Winner, 2000

Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Grades 9-12, Winner, 2002
reviewed Monster on + 9 more book reviews
i picked this book up not really knowing what to expect and it was definitely a surprise. it started off a little disjointed, got a little better in the middle and got to be a page-turner at the end, so i'm glad i picked it up. the opening line gives a great idea of what kind of power this book holds.

"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help."

the story is told from the perspective of 16 year old Steve Harmon, on trial for felony murder for allegedly acting as a lookout in a robbery where the store owner was shot and killed. through his obvious fear of the situation, we become his audience, his jury, and are left to determine his guilt.

as an aspiring film maker, Steve tells his story in a screenplay fashion, complete with scene fades, camera close ups and voice overs. the style took some time to get used to, but it did work, for the most part. between the script, we are given some more personal insight into his life through journal entries detailing his thoughts regarding the trial.

"The movie is more real in so many ways than the life I am leading. No, that's not true. I just desperately wish this was only a movie."

the bulk of the story is spent in the courtroom, as we follow the proceedings, but it is written in a clear and simple way that isn't overly complicated. the few moments that are reflections of his time in jail are powerful statements of what it means to be incarcerated, without being too graphic.

"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."

although there are a lot of side characters in the guards, lawyers, and witnesses, it's clear throughout that the focus is entirely on Steve. he comes across as a quiet kind of kid, just trying to make it through life in Harlem, passionate about his film-making and uncertain about his own future. we watch as he questions his own moral fiber, unsure if he is fact the Monster that the prosecution claims him to be.

although it had a rough start, i did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in what it would mean to be a juvenile on trial. my only complaint is that there could have been more substance, more depth in Steve's journal entry moments. i think this could have given us more of a connection to the character, although that may have been against the author's intentions. i can see how this was written with the intention that the reader is there, as an impartial juror would be, left to our own decisions based on the information presented.

regardless, this would make for excellent reading in a classroom setting and is an excellent attempt to tackle race issues, identity and violence in our society.

for more of my reviews, please visit: http://thelittlereader.net
reviewed Monster on + 6 more book reviews
I don't know if I really like the writing here. It wasn't too interesting to me. I was sorry for the kid. I wanted things to go easier on him, like maybe community service or something. If I were on his jury, I would have let him off. He didn't seem to be guilty enough to serve tons of jail time. He didn't seem guilty at all. He wasn't part of the murder; he didn't plan the murder. The sentencing was way to harsh for him. I like His movie angles; they were different.
reviewed Monster on + 361 more book reviews
daughter liked the book was a summer read assignment. did not like the style of the writing though.
reviewed Monster on + 3 more book reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is of a teenage boy who struggles with the concept of right and wrong and begins to realize that the line between the two is not quite so clear-cut. He also struggles with his own identity as he is exposed to the biases, assumptions, and judgments of those he interacts with. The book is humorous, highly entertaining, and a quick read but it also asks you to think about the same conflicts that the main character struggles with.

Just a heads up: it can be confusing at times as the format jumps from narrative to journal to movie script and there are flashbacks in the movie script.
reviewed Monster on + 42 more book reviews
I had to read this book for a Children's Literature class. It wasn't totally my cup of tea. Books, movies, television shows, songs - these elements of media continue to tell the theme of young criminals, and I DON'T enjoy that. If this had not been assigned reading, I would never have looked at it.
reviewed Monster on + 9 more book reviews
A courtroom drama written as a screenplay about a 16-year-old who is on trial for murder.