Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

ISBN: 0064407314 - Paperback edition
281 pp.
$ 6.99

Readers Annotation:
Monster follows the murder trial of a sixteen year old. Told by the young man on trial, Monster offers a realistic and frightening portrayal of what it means to literally fight for your life.

Steve Harmon is a sixteen year old kid awaiting trial at the Manhattan Detention Center. Steve once an aspiring film student is now a criminal on trial for his life. Steve faces danger from all sides. The Prosecutor wants a life sentence. Steve’s fellow conspirators all depend on his conviction. No one, not even his defense attorney believes in Steve’s innocence.

In this tense situation Steve’s only outlet is his movie making. While the defense attorney and the prosecution haggle over his case, Steve chronicles his court room experience. Steve presents his experience as a movie script. He includes lighting, sound cues, camera angles, and casting. Steve makes his very real experience as surreal for us as it is for him.

In the courtroom Steve is linked to murderers, gang members, and thieves. Steve’s journal presents another side; that of a scared kid, fighting to reconcile what has happened with who he is. The Prosecutor calls Steve a monster. The evidence, the witnesses and even Steve confirm this label. But, only if you read this book will you know if Steve is truly a Monster.

National Book Award Finalist
Coretta Scoot King Award
ALA Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence

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