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This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination, and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.

Fade In: Interior: Early Morning In Cell Block D, Manhattan Detention Center.

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.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Topics: New York City, Prison, Peer Pressure, Murder, Urban, Race Relations, Crime, Discrimination, Prisoners, Emotional, Realistic, Suspenseful, Epistolary Novels, Play Script, First Person Narration, Realism, African American Author, American Author, Male Author, Survival, and 20th Century

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 6, 2009
ISBN: 9780061975028
List price: $9.99
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This is the story of a boy who was sent to jail for a crime he did not commit. He was guilty by association presumably. A "getover" was carried out by two young men from Steve Harmon's neighborhood; only one of whom he knew. The story presents the series of trials he underwent. While in jail he thought about not getting beat up, what was going on with his trial, how this would effect his life afterwards, and how he would represent it. He decided that he would document all of these happenings and portray his story through film. It is written as it would be performed and is, "The true story of Steve Harmon. This is the story of his life and his trial.--[written] as he remembers them." One of my reservations in teachin this text would be that it is frighteningly realistic. I am a very visual person, and if I had read this at a young age I would have been freaked out. The parts about the rape, violence, and bathroom scenes are what hold me back. However, I believe that this would be a great incentive for the stereotypically "bad kids" to shape up. Hearing what life in jail is really like might make them desire to behave more appropriately.I liked the book a lot until the last thirty or so pages. It was just such a quick ending. I feel that so much led up throughout the trials to this huge moment of the verdict's presentation and it was just thrown out and moved on from. I also did not understand why Mrs. O'brien turned away from him at the end. I felt that she had been mostly warm to him in the story; it just seemed inconsistent. I loved how the author gave such descriptive details of each character in the book. I felt so connected to Steve and the pain he and his family were going through. I really wish the author would have expanded more on the people's reactions to his having not been put in jail, and also what he really was doing that day. That question never got answered to me. They just kind of said he was not there, and I felt like he really was not but wanted more information. I did enjoy the book though and was thankful for something to do on our snow day! :)read more
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the book monster is about this kid who goes to jail and he has always wanted to be in a movie bisuness. while he is in jail he writes about everything that happens in there and he kindove makes a movie about what it is like in jail. then later on in the book he gets out of jail.read more
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Written in the style of a screen play, this book depicts the story of a young man, Steve Harmon, on trial for murder. Through the screen play and the occasional interval of a diary style narration, we learn the circumstances that brought Steve to his current situation, while maintaining an ambiguity as to whether or not he is actually guilty. The screen play in which the book is written makes the book hard to get sucked into, keeping the reader as arms length. It is only the few journal entries where we get a more in depth look into the main character so that we may sympathize with him. At best, the book shows the squalid and horrific setting that is a prison that may be the inspiration to keep kids out of trouble.read more
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I really enjoyed this book, it was short and to the point. The format seemed to be confusing at times but other than that i enjoyed it a lot but definately a teen novelread more
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Myers's novel relays the trial of Steve Harmon, a young black male who is accused of aiding in a robbery-turned-murder. One striking feature of the novel is that it is written in the format of a notebook journal interspersed with movie script as relayed and directed by Steve. Myers's compassionate portrayal generates a lot of sympathy for Steve, who is intelligent and sensitive and scared to death in prison. As the details of the case emerge, the reader is left wondering how deeply Steve was really involved. Is he innocent, or just desperately wanting to believe so? I would highly recommend this book for a public YA collection.read more
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This book reads like a movie script as the protaganist recounts his story of how he was arrested for murder. The story weaves a tale, but it's hard to determine whether this nice boy has gone bad or whether he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.Great for book discussions!read more
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Monster is about an African American boy who is charged with a crime. He is accused of being a lookout for a robbery that ultimately resulted in the death of the store owner. Stevon Harmon, who is sixteen, has to deal with the tribulations of being in jail at such a young age and also having to be on trial. Monster is a very good book to read for adolescent readers. This book allows you to connect to several other themes that need to be taught at the middle school level. For example, while the students are reading this book the teacher can do a unit on the legal system. The students could use Stevon’s situation to have a “mock-trial” in the classroom representing the defense and prosecution of Stevon Harmon. Before the students finish the book, they can decide through a jury if they think Stevon is guilty or innocent. I really enjoyed reading Monster by Walter Dean Myers. I have to admit that it took me a while to get use to how the author used a screenplay to tell the story. But once I got past this, the book was an easy read and very enjoyable. I enjoy watching crime shows on T.V. so this book subject matter was very interesting to me. Throughout the story, the author would introduce a witness that you couldn’t trust but then he would introduce a witness you could trust. By doing this, the author had me changing my opinion every few pages. I really did enjoy reading this book. The book will have you guessing until the final pages if Stevon Harmon is found guilty or innocent.read more
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The main character in "Monster" is Steve Harmon. Steve Harmon is a 16 year old male in jail awaiting trial for felony murder. The book is written in Steve's point of view. He tells the story as if he is recording the events as they happen in real life. Steve struggles to prove his innocence, not only to everyone else, but to himself as well. An important theme that could be discussed after reading "Monster" is the theme of true innocence. By using innocence, a teacher could ask the students to define the word innocence in their own words. They could also instruct them to explain in detail what is true innocence when it comes to the judicial system. Is true innocence a person being found innocent of a crime or a person who did not truly commit the crime. Since the book was kind of a mystery, I really enjoyed the book. I like how the main character, Steve, constantly battles with wondering if he is really innocence. The book also shows many flaws in the judicial system. It also illustrates what others will do just to help themselves. It seems as if it is many "I's" in the judicial system. I also respected Steve's mother. Even though she was distraught because her son was in jail, she always believed in his innocence from beginning to end. I also like that Steve had a strong connection with his younger brother and always thought of ways he could make his brother turn out better than he has so far. Likewise, this book shows how programs such as a filming class can help children solve their problems and/ or release stress in everyday life.read more
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In his diary, teenager Steve Harmon, describes his time in prison and his upcoming trial for the charge of murder. But is Steve innocent or guilty? Readers consider both sides of the argument and empathize with Steven throughout the book.I read this book with a class of reluctant readers, and not only did they enjoy the book, but many interesting, well-debated discussions ensued.read more
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Steve Harmon is a young boy that gets himself mixed up in the wrong situation. He happens to know some people in a rough crowd and he ends up on trial for murder. The State was trying to convince the jury that he was the lookout during the murder. While he is awaiting trial, he works on producing a film. He writes down how he feels in the form of a journal. I do not think that I would teach this in a classroom unless it was an older grade. This book is very realistic and I think that some children and their parents would be uncomfortable reading this. However, if I taught it to an older audience I would have them write about what they thought Steve's punishment should be. I had trouble deciding what I thought the outcome should be and I would be very interested in hearing what others had to say about it.I really liked this book. At first, I was very nervous about it because this is not normally the type of book that I would choose to read. It was a very nice surprise. I found myself wanting to know what happened next. When the book talked about Steve's parents being upset and how he wanted to talk to his little brother, it really made me realize that a persons decisions have an impact on everyone around them. I am glad that I read this book because now I will be able to venture out and read outside of m comfort zone more often.read more
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Excellent choice for reluctant YA readers, especially male. I can't keep it on my shelf at school library. I was fascinated as well.read more
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The book is about a teenager name Steve who is facing murder charges.The book is written in two ways in form of a play and narrative from Steve himself.Steve believes no one believe him and he starting not believe himself.He was the look out while his friends robed the local store.If the jury finds him guilty he is facing the death penalty.read more
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Monster is a story about a young teenage, Steve, who is on trial for a murder. This story is wrote from Steve's point of view and he writes it stage play fashion. During the trial Steve take the reader back in forth between the past and the present to better help them understand his life. He is labeled as a monster by the District Attorney because of the crime that she claims he help James King commit. I think that was an easy read and would work great for teaching to a class. I think that a class could actually act out each scene as it is already laid out in a stage play format. I think this book would also be a great read for teaching students about peer pressure and some of the things that follow it. This book could also be use to show them how a justice system work. I think that after reading the book it would be a great idea to talk to the student about what could have happened if the trial had a different outcome.Although this book was an easy book to read, it would not have been a book that I would have chosen on my own to read. I do not really like reading books that are set up this way. It also does not fall in to the genre of books that I enjoy reading. There were part in the book that i enjoyed reading. I enjoyed the fact that it was like trip into Steve's on personal thoughts. I enjoyed the feeling that the author showed through his characters. Whiling reading the book the entire time I was hoping that the jury was find Steve not guilty and allow his a second chance at life.read more
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Steve Harmon was a typical teenager who just got caught up in a lot of drama. The district attorney is trying to trial him with a murder charge. There was a plan to rob a drugstore which Steve did not agree to go along with but King assumed that he was down with the plan. As we see that the plan went from robbery to murder of the drugstore owner. So as they all argued their cases Steve found not guilty. This book can help bring out many different concerns and/or connections to reality. You can teach your class the importance of being careful who you hang around even though you maybe just associates. Also you can take out time to talk about the judicial system and how the prison is being filled with teenagers now days. This can be a real eye opener to someone and you never know how you may help just that one person from spending the rest of their life in jail.I really emjoyed this book especially how he had it in as a screenplay. Its showed how the system works sometimes especially when it comes to an African American. Im not saying that in a prejudice way im just saying how the system will sometimes chager a little bit too harsh with out really reviewing and going over the evidence with details and really examining the case. But i really enjoyed this book and hopefully one day i will be able to read this book for my class.read more
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Monster written by Walter Dean Myers is a fiction novel that takes place in downtown modern New York City with "people going about the business of their lives...men collecting garbage...and students on the way to school"(11), or in other words a typical New York scenery. In this story Walter Dean creates a screenplay and takes reader's inside a trial of a young man by the name of Steve Harmon that has been accused of robbery and murder. Throughout the story the reader is forced to enter a court room scene where each character is questioned about the crime. As people are put one the stand, questions are asked, and statements are made, Steve is left to rely on his lawyer and hope for the best. My opionion about this book is that I thought the idea of creating a screenplay was very creative. For example, Myeres uses film dialect in that he uses words such as fade in, cut to, using abbrevations such as vo for voice over and ms for medium shot. I feel like it really creates the scene for the readers and makes them feel actually inside the story. Apart from the creativity of how the book is written some of the issues the book raises is peer pressure that teens feel trying to fit in rather than being themselves and the fact that in our justice system people are often prejudged for a crime rather than by law;being innocent until proven gulity. Myers' opinions about teen peer pressure is that it does happen and when poor choices are made their are consequences. As far as people being prejudged in our justice system Myers' wanted the reader to know that even though the law states a person is innocent until proven gulity people often times assume that they are gulity and the person has to prove that they are innocent. I agree with the author's opinions towards these issues because they are issues that people face everyday and it is always good to be able to have a personal connection with the story. In relation to the issues stated above some larger issues tha today's society is facee with is bullying in school which often times is from peer pressure and how people are unable to separate their own beliefs and values when dealing with the government. After reading this book my opinion about these issues just further confirmet the fact that these things do go on and it made me also wonder what can I do to possibly change them. Some ideas and comments for teachers that might want to teach this text can: 1) Can make all the students make a list of good and bad decisions that they have made in their lives and if they could go back what could they have done differently about the bad decisions that they made(Introduction to the text) 2) The book can then be read and maybe they can discuss how Steve might be similar to them and what they could do differently 3) Can also create literature circles. Overall, I thought the book was an ok book,only because it leaves the reader wondering about alot of things. I feel like the main theme of the book is that life is full of choices and whatever chocie you make be sure you are ready for the consequences good or bad.read more
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Steve Harmon, a sixteen year-old African American is implicated in a murder case. Of the four people involved, he is alleged to have shot and killed the storeowner in a robbery. He is so terrified of what he experiences in jail during his trial that he writes a movie script...the details of his trial. The word "monster" sticks to his head as prosecutor Petrocelli refers to people who steal and kill. Is he guilty or not? What did his defense attorney Kathy O'Brien see in him after the trial? Why did she turn away? A suspense!read more
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Monster is about a young teenage boy, Steve, who is accused of committing a crime at a drug store. One of his acquaintances, Bobo, places him at the scene of the crime, telling the jury that he was a part of the illegal act. Now it is up to the lawers and jury to decide the fate of this young man. The book is written in a script because after all was said and done, Steve made his experience into a movie. Teaching this book to a class would be great. It relates to so many kids who are living in dangerous areas and who sometimes associate with the wrong people. One good theme about this book that a teacher could point out to his/her students is that one must be wise in choosing who the associate with. Steve was a harmless guy, but since he chose to talk to the neighborhood criminals, they threw him under the bus and accused him of murder. Another good point about this book is that no matter what type of situation one is in, it is always important to always believe in yourself. Do not let someone wrongly accuse you of something you know you did not do. I actually liked this book. It was very easy to read and kept you interested in what was going to happen next. I cannot say that I can relate to this young boy, but I can only imagine that this was the worst experience of his life. My heart goes out to those who are wrongly accused of a crime. I know for a fact that I do not like people blaming me for something that I know I did not do. Growing up, I was brought up in a good town and great school and it just breaks my heart to think that crime, in some cities, happens daily and that it has no effect on some of the people.read more
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“Monster” by Walter Dean Myers is about sixteen years old Steve Harmon, who is on trial for murder. Steve is allegedly guilty for being the lookout of a store robbery that turned into a murder. To help him cope with prison, Steve writes down the trial in a notebook like a writer would a screen play. He aspires to be a director one day. This scripted story describes Steve’s struggle with himself. The prosecutor calls him a monster and Steve begins to think that he may be one. Walter Dean Myers decides to write this book in the form of a screen play. This is a very unique way to write a book, this helps the students experience diversity in literature. Diversity of genre is key to finding an interest in literature. This book is also very relatable to the students because Steve is around their age group. Steve’s story can demonstrate what can happen when people get mixed up with the wrong type of people. It also describes what peer pressure can cause. Teens are very susceptible to peer pressure; Steve’s story can open their eyes to the consequences of it.This book is not something I would usually read. If I had not been assigned the book I do not think I would have ever read it, but once I started I became quite interested in the emotional roller coaster of Steve’s story. The first line of the book really got to me. As soon as I read that line I was hooked. The idea of a sixteen year old boy sitting in jail every night listening to people fight and having to hide his emotions from the rest of the cell mates devastated me. I was on his side from the beginning. His ideas and thoughts throughout the story had me almost screaming how could they not think he was innocent! This young man was caused to see and hear things that no sixteen years old should. The outcome was a real surprise to me, but I was extremely pleased with it. The mystery of this story kept me turning pages. I would recommend this book to any future colleague or student.read more
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This dramatic novel,written by Walter Dean Myers, tells the story of Steve Harmon, a 16 year old African American. Harmon is on trial for murder in Harlem, New York. The plot centers around Harmon's real life experiences in jail awaiting his sentencing and the trial itself. The theme of Monster is based on the effects of peer-pressure and self-discovery. Steve is forced to come to terms with his own identity and realize that if he had not had given into the peer-pressure from James King, he would not be in his current situation. Harmon tells the story in a diary and screenplay format, so he can make it into a movie someday. Monster is a great way to teach students about the effects of giving into peer pressure and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Steve Harmon tells his story in a screenplay and diary format that is easy to follow and interesting. Monster also focuses on a court trial, and is a good way to teach the way a court case is played out and basic terminology. A good way to teach Monster would be to assign students' different parts and have them read aloud or even act the novel out in front of the class. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Monster and agreed with Myers' opinions. Myers did a great job addressing the struggles of growing up in Harlem, and the effects of 'falling into the wrong crowd.' Monster raises issues on the effects of peer-pressure, racism, street life, and how a mistake can effect a family. Monster did not address the issue of owning up to your own mistakes and taking responsibility though. I think that Myers should have had Steve take responsibility rather than being in denial. Steve stated several times that he was confused and simply could not remember if he was even in the drug store. One large issue that this book deals with is racism. After reading this book, I realized that this sort of discrimination in the court room occurs all of the time in the real world. Just because someone is a different race, does not necessarily make them a criminal. I believe that evidence and science should be what convicts a person of a crime. Monster was an outstanding book. It was a simple read, passed by quickly, and was easily understood. I think that this book is a great recommendation for any classroom in the secondary setting, and can have a great impact on adolescents' lives. Monster reminded me of seeing many court cases on TV and movies, and me trying to figure out all of the terminology and acts of the judicial system. I have not read many books concerning crime, so I do not have one to compare my arguments with. I felt much empathy for Steve Harmon because he was so confused and scared about what was going to become of the rest of his life since he was on trial for a murder that he could not recall helping with and could possibly face 25 years to life in federal prison. I understood how he could have easily fallen into the dangerous web of peer-pressure, but I also believe that if he did commit a crime, no matter how small it seemed, he deserved to pay for it. Harmon may not deserve 25 years to life, but he still should serve some time. I was able to relate and empathize with how he felt though, especially when Miss O'Brien would not hug him after the trial was over.read more
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Walter Dean Myer's novel, Monster, is a story about the trial of a 16 year old African-American boy named Steve Harmon. Steve is on trial for the robbery of a drugstore which resulted in the murder of the owner, Mr. Nesbitt. Throughout the story, we learn that Steve is not completely sure of who he is, he is just consumed by his court case. To cope, Steve keeps a journal and creates a "movie" of his trial. Because of this, the book is written as a screenplay along with journal entries from Steve. Teachers who may use this book in their middle grades classroom could make connections to the judicial system and how a case actually happens in court. The book uses terms (such as appeal, objection, sustained, overruled, etc.) that a teacher could introduce as vocabulary when teaching about the court system. Also, since the book is written as a screenplay, it could be used for reader's theatre and students in the classroom would be essentially creating their own "trial."I enjoyed reading Monster. It was very easy to read and I enjoyed going from the objective style of the screenplay to Steve's personal feelings and thoughts in his journal entries. I was very annoyed with most of the prosecution's witnesses. I thought it was extremely unfair that BoBo Evans was facing less time than Steve and he was one of the people directly involved in the robbery/murder. When I finished the book, I was pleased with the final verdict but the more I think about it, the more unsure I am. I wish the author would have revealed whether or not Steve was actually involved in the robbery.read more
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A book about this kid who gets discriminated in court and stuff.read more
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 Crime runs rampant in the streets of Manhattan, but it doesn’t go unpunished. This all becomes real for 16-year-old Steve Harmon in this thriller of a novel. What seemed like a regular “stick-up” turned into the ultimate demise of an innocent, hard-working, black man. And Steve, a young, black teenager, finds himself stuck in jail and on trial not for robbery, but for murder. Steve has watched others wreck their lives by traveling down the wrong path and disregarding the law, but now that he is faced with his own legal dilemma, he is unsure that he is ready to handle the pressure. Deep down inside he knows he is innocent...or does he? As he struggles with his conscience, unsure of himself and his own thoughts, another battle wages all around him, one that could land him in jail---for life---or back home, free of all accusation and guilt. And the confusion and uncertainty continue to rise as race seems to become an important factor in the trial of a black teenager. Monster is a suspenseful portrayal of the real world in the streets of Manhattan. It shows the reality of the situation and gives you an insight into the life of a suspected criminal. You are with Steve the entire way, through all the ups and downs, twists and turns, as you experience what it’s like to really be in the courtroom, at the podium or seated at the table. Soon you find yourself engrossed in a world of fear and uncertainty---Steve’s reality world---and you will be with Steve the entire way, feeling what he feels and thinking what he thinks. As you read the novel that is written like a script, each scene unfolds around you and you not only see the words on the page and imagine the world they describe, but you are in that world. You see the sights, hear the sounds, experience everything in the world of Monster. This book tests your will and twists your emotions, until you don’t know what side you’re really on.Walter Dean Myers has done it yet again. His fictional novel becomes a surprising reality for readers. His creative style of writing in this book, a script turned into a novel, unveils a stunningly real world for his readers. I would award this book 4 out of 5 stars. It grabs your interest from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end. Monster keeps you hungry for more and always on the edge of your seat as you are whisked away by a whirlwind of suspense and emotion. The occasional insight into Steve’s thoughts only adds to the shocking reality of the entire story. This book could be compared to Game by Walter Dean Myers in its racial aspects and setting in Manhattan. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more books from Walter Dean Myers’s thrilling repertoire.read more
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This is a serious book about Steve Harmon who is accused of being an accomplice to a drug store robbery that ended in a death and is currently on trial for murder. The story is told in a diary style where Steve decides to write his own experience like a movie screen play, a clever way to show the reader how much Steve wants to escape his own predicament. We get detailed descriptions of Steve’s feelings about jail and of the trial, but only vague glimpses of the day of the murder, since he never has the courage to revisit that day. This causes the reader to want to read more to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, the truth is never revealed even though the trial’s verdict is reported, leaving the reader with a sense that they will never know what truly happened.read more
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Monster, written by Walter Dean Myers, is a unique, engaging book that is captivating for readers of all ability levels. I stumbled upon this book in our library’s “textbook” shelves, where we have copies stored for our English intervention classes. Monster is used in these intervention classes because it qualifies as a “hi-lo” book: a high-interest novel that is accessible for students of low reading abilities. Initially, I was kind of skeptical about starting Monster; however, I was quickly converted into a fan once I got began reading Myers’s novel.With Monster, Myers presents the story of sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon, a young black man who is on trial as an accomplice to murder. Because the story is told from Steve’s perspective, we are led to believe in his innocence throughout the novel; however, the doubts that Myers lets creep in leave the reader feeling conflicted about Steve’s innocence (or lack thereof). Over the course of the novel, the reader watches Steve navigate through his new life in prison and fight to retain his sanity in a world of very real (prison-induced) madness. Myers’s depiction of life in jail is unflinchingly honest, presenting all of the horrors, sadness, and panic that accompany living in a prison cell.While the demographic is clearly hard to reach, Monster has the recipe for success with struggling male readers (the presumed target audience of the novel): a gritty portrait of modern urban life, a believable narrator who is a male of color, a courtroom drama, a murder that has been committed, and a very limited amount of “fluffy” writing. Even reluctant readers (many of whom hate everything that has been given to them in English class) will undoubtedly find themselves engaged in Steve’s story; however, more developed readers (such as yours truly) will still feel invested in the story and read through page after page to find out the verdict for Steve’s case.The most unique aspect of Monster is that it breaks the traditional novel format, incorporating journal entries, illustrations, and (most notably) film scripts into the storytelling. As with TTYL (which targets female high school readers), much of Monster’s strength comes from its format; however, unlike TTYL, the underlying story is captivating and memorable. Although the “screenplay” format that dominates the novel mimics the main character’s passion for film, it also allows Myers to engage with struggling readers in a much more accessible style of storytelling. Regardless of these sleight-of-hand literary tricks, Myers has crafted a novel capable of reaching a wide audience… including those very adolescents who find themselves hanging with the wrong crowd, like Steve Harmon does in Monster.read more
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Steve Harmon is a sixteen-year-old black teenager. Steve’s story begins when he is charged as an accomplice to murder. While in prison, Steve passes the time by writing his story like a screenplay. In it he tells of his fears, his past, and the events of his own murder trial. Is Steve a monster or was he merely in the wrong place at the wrong time? Will Steve be freed, or will his worst fear of spending the rest of his life in prison come to pass? As his lawyer Miss O’Brien tells him, “You’re young, you’re black, and you’re on trial. What else do they need to know?” The conflicting feelings of Steve’s guilt or innocence are a plotting strategy meant to keep the reader's mind working on the themes of the story long after the reading is done. Myers wrote this story for a youthful audience, and his plotting of it masterfully speaks to young readers in highly personal ways that deliver maximum impact while using a minimum of words. The story is a relatively short work as novel lengths go, but as the simple language works, so does the tight structure of the plot line. I find this book to be a great literary piece of work that would entangle any reader that picks up this book. Especially in the school I work at where it is statistically filled with a high percentage of African Americans, in which some of the students have spent their time in jail for similar charges. This book could reach out to those who share similar events or educate those who have the potential of being duped into the same role.read more
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Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. He is black. He is 16 years old. He is called a “monster” by the prosecutor who charges that he was the “lookout” in a robbery that led to the death of a convenience store owner. Steve is terrified about having to spend years in jail or worse yet, confronting the death penalty. Faced with this overwhelming situation, Steve envisions his trial as a movie and writes a movie script mirroring his experiences as he sits in the courtroom during his trial. His guilt or innocence is hard to determine, in part because Steve himself seems unsure about his part in a murder that occurred in December. Was he in the wrong place at the right time, was he somehow involved, or is he being completely unfairly accused by so called friends? I don't actually like this book all that much...read more
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Monster is a book about a 16 year old boy named Steve Harmon. He is on trial for felony murder for robbing a drugstore and killing a man. Throughout the book, he writes down his thoughts and fears while in prison. The other boys involved in the crime all admit to it, but Steve swears he was not at the drugstore December 22 when the robbery and killing happened. The book is his trial for the reader to see, and by the end his fate is in the juries hands.Monster could easily be used as a connection to young boys who might be going down a troubling path. For example, say a teacher works in a more troubled school district where kids are constantly involved in fights and conflicts, by having her students read the book Monster it could open their eyes to what could happen to them if they continue on that path. A concern I would have as a teacher is that the material at points is a little disturbing and scary. The writings of Steve Harmon really make you feel like you are in jail with him hearing the screams and seeing the fights. I feel like this may be a little much from some younger teens who are more naive.Monster was a very good book. At first, I didn't care for it because I am a very visual person and picturing this young boy in jail bothered me a little. The more I ready the more I got hooked. I felt like I was sitting in the court room with them and wanted to yell out "He's innocent!" Walter Dean Myers did a wonderful job of making the reader feel like they were part of the book, almost like one of the jury members. While reading, I really did feel like I was watching a movie on the edge of my seat. Monster was a great book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a little suspense.read more
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Walter Myers's, Monster, is a fiction book dealing with the issue of stereotyping. Steven Harmon, the protagonist, is a black sixteen year old male from Harlem, who was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, or was he? On trail for felony murder, Harmon decides to create a screenplay retelling the events of his trial. This book is a mixture of the screenplay that Steven is writing and his own personal journal entries. Harmon is convinced that he has done nothing wrong. However, his “acquaintances” as he calls them said that he was their look out, giving them the okay to enter the store. Throughout the trail Harmon's attorney tries to put distance between Harmon and the other defendants. It is not until Harmon takes the witness stand that the jury is able to truly hear his side of the story. Walter Myers is a black author who mostly writes about adolescents who are growing up in the streets of Harlem. Monster is a perfect example of the hardships that adolescents face in society. Looking beyond the storyline, the reader will realize that someone does not have to be put on trial for murder to be judged wrongfully depending on what side of town he or she grew up on or the color of their skin. Myers is able to demonstrate that stereotyping is a forceful habit that needs to be stopped through his character, Steven Harmon.Monster is very interesting the unique style works great with the storyline; it's just like watching an episode of “Law & Order,” but your imagination builds the stage. Stereotyping is an issue that is always going to be a problem; however, Myers's takes the issue and shows how one life can be affected for life. Hopefully by reading this younger generations will be able to grow up knowing that stereotyping is wrong and they can help change society's issue with stereotyping. The book really shows how peer pressure is a battle that children face throughout their adolescent lives; however, I do not think the book properly illustrated that it is better to stand by yourself than join any group that will take you.Concerns:- Stereotyping- RacismOne book that comes to my mind after reading Monster is The Scarlet Letter. Both books have entirely different plots but both deal with the issue of judging based on the situation. Harmon was already guilty of murder before he was given the time to be found guilty or not guilty, and Hester Prynne was judged by other born sinful humans for a crime that should only be judged by the Creator of the Law, God. The morals with which I grew up learning taught me that “if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Harmon's character is in that position at the beginning of the story, and the ending in a way leaves the truth to be discovered by the reader. Although the book dealt with stereotyping due to the people with whom Harmon was acquaintances, in my personal opinion this book dealt with the issue of racism. Had the character, Steven, been a white kid from the suburban community, he most likely would not have been stereotyped with the other people involved in the robbery and murder. The book really helped me realize that stereotyping a person is easier to do than giving them the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I strongly dislike that our society stereotypes its citizens due to where they live, the people with whom they associate, or the color of their skin. I believe that this book can allow for today's youth to be aware of the effects that stereotyping people is wrong and it can cause damage to the people being stereotyped. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, due to its unique style and the issue that it brings to surface. Furthermore, this book can show that reading can be fun and interesting to someone that may not like to read. I would rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars from the books that I have read throughout my life. So for someone that is not a big fan of reading, I would suggest Walter Myers's, Monster.read more
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Monster is written in first-person, from the point of view of a high school film student, Steve Harmon. Sixteen-year-old Harmon is charged with felony murder. To deal with the stress of his circumstances, Harmon distances himself from his situation by imagining that he is making a film of the trial. Thus, the book is written in script form, complete with directions for the cameraman (which can be a bit confusing). Readers experience the anguish of this young African-American teen as they try to determine whether the protagonist is innocent or not.read more
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This is the story of a boy who was sent to jail for a crime he did not commit. He was guilty by association presumably. A "getover" was carried out by two young men from Steve Harmon's neighborhood; only one of whom he knew. The story presents the series of trials he underwent. While in jail he thought about not getting beat up, what was going on with his trial, how this would effect his life afterwards, and how he would represent it. He decided that he would document all of these happenings and portray his story through film. It is written as it would be performed and is, "The true story of Steve Harmon. This is the story of his life and his trial.--[written] as he remembers them." One of my reservations in teachin this text would be that it is frighteningly realistic. I am a very visual person, and if I had read this at a young age I would have been freaked out. The parts about the rape, violence, and bathroom scenes are what hold me back. However, I believe that this would be a great incentive for the stereotypically "bad kids" to shape up. Hearing what life in jail is really like might make them desire to behave more appropriately.I liked the book a lot until the last thirty or so pages. It was just such a quick ending. I feel that so much led up throughout the trials to this huge moment of the verdict's presentation and it was just thrown out and moved on from. I also did not understand why Mrs. O'brien turned away from him at the end. I felt that she had been mostly warm to him in the story; it just seemed inconsistent. I loved how the author gave such descriptive details of each character in the book. I felt so connected to Steve and the pain he and his family were going through. I really wish the author would have expanded more on the people's reactions to his having not been put in jail, and also what he really was doing that day. That question never got answered to me. They just kind of said he was not there, and I felt like he really was not but wanted more information. I did enjoy the book though and was thankful for something to do on our snow day! :)
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the book monster is about this kid who goes to jail and he has always wanted to be in a movie bisuness. while he is in jail he writes about everything that happens in there and he kindove makes a movie about what it is like in jail. then later on in the book he gets out of jail.
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Written in the style of a screen play, this book depicts the story of a young man, Steve Harmon, on trial for murder. Through the screen play and the occasional interval of a diary style narration, we learn the circumstances that brought Steve to his current situation, while maintaining an ambiguity as to whether or not he is actually guilty. The screen play in which the book is written makes the book hard to get sucked into, keeping the reader as arms length. It is only the few journal entries where we get a more in depth look into the main character so that we may sympathize with him. At best, the book shows the squalid and horrific setting that is a prison that may be the inspiration to keep kids out of trouble.
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I really enjoyed this book, it was short and to the point. The format seemed to be confusing at times but other than that i enjoyed it a lot but definately a teen novel
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Myers's novel relays the trial of Steve Harmon, a young black male who is accused of aiding in a robbery-turned-murder. One striking feature of the novel is that it is written in the format of a notebook journal interspersed with movie script as relayed and directed by Steve. Myers's compassionate portrayal generates a lot of sympathy for Steve, who is intelligent and sensitive and scared to death in prison. As the details of the case emerge, the reader is left wondering how deeply Steve was really involved. Is he innocent, or just desperately wanting to believe so? I would highly recommend this book for a public YA collection.
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This book reads like a movie script as the protaganist recounts his story of how he was arrested for murder. The story weaves a tale, but it's hard to determine whether this nice boy has gone bad or whether he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.Great for book discussions!
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Monster is about an African American boy who is charged with a crime. He is accused of being a lookout for a robbery that ultimately resulted in the death of the store owner. Stevon Harmon, who is sixteen, has to deal with the tribulations of being in jail at such a young age and also having to be on trial. Monster is a very good book to read for adolescent readers. This book allows you to connect to several other themes that need to be taught at the middle school level. For example, while the students are reading this book the teacher can do a unit on the legal system. The students could use Stevon’s situation to have a “mock-trial” in the classroom representing the defense and prosecution of Stevon Harmon. Before the students finish the book, they can decide through a jury if they think Stevon is guilty or innocent. I really enjoyed reading Monster by Walter Dean Myers. I have to admit that it took me a while to get use to how the author used a screenplay to tell the story. But once I got past this, the book was an easy read and very enjoyable. I enjoy watching crime shows on T.V. so this book subject matter was very interesting to me. Throughout the story, the author would introduce a witness that you couldn’t trust but then he would introduce a witness you could trust. By doing this, the author had me changing my opinion every few pages. I really did enjoy reading this book. The book will have you guessing until the final pages if Stevon Harmon is found guilty or innocent.
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The main character in "Monster" is Steve Harmon. Steve Harmon is a 16 year old male in jail awaiting trial for felony murder. The book is written in Steve's point of view. He tells the story as if he is recording the events as they happen in real life. Steve struggles to prove his innocence, not only to everyone else, but to himself as well. An important theme that could be discussed after reading "Monster" is the theme of true innocence. By using innocence, a teacher could ask the students to define the word innocence in their own words. They could also instruct them to explain in detail what is true innocence when it comes to the judicial system. Is true innocence a person being found innocent of a crime or a person who did not truly commit the crime. Since the book was kind of a mystery, I really enjoyed the book. I like how the main character, Steve, constantly battles with wondering if he is really innocence. The book also shows many flaws in the judicial system. It also illustrates what others will do just to help themselves. It seems as if it is many "I's" in the judicial system. I also respected Steve's mother. Even though she was distraught because her son was in jail, she always believed in his innocence from beginning to end. I also like that Steve had a strong connection with his younger brother and always thought of ways he could make his brother turn out better than he has so far. Likewise, this book shows how programs such as a filming class can help children solve their problems and/ or release stress in everyday life.
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In his diary, teenager Steve Harmon, describes his time in prison and his upcoming trial for the charge of murder. But is Steve innocent or guilty? Readers consider both sides of the argument and empathize with Steven throughout the book.I read this book with a class of reluctant readers, and not only did they enjoy the book, but many interesting, well-debated discussions ensued.
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Steve Harmon is a young boy that gets himself mixed up in the wrong situation. He happens to know some people in a rough crowd and he ends up on trial for murder. The State was trying to convince the jury that he was the lookout during the murder. While he is awaiting trial, he works on producing a film. He writes down how he feels in the form of a journal. I do not think that I would teach this in a classroom unless it was an older grade. This book is very realistic and I think that some children and their parents would be uncomfortable reading this. However, if I taught it to an older audience I would have them write about what they thought Steve's punishment should be. I had trouble deciding what I thought the outcome should be and I would be very interested in hearing what others had to say about it.I really liked this book. At first, I was very nervous about it because this is not normally the type of book that I would choose to read. It was a very nice surprise. I found myself wanting to know what happened next. When the book talked about Steve's parents being upset and how he wanted to talk to his little brother, it really made me realize that a persons decisions have an impact on everyone around them. I am glad that I read this book because now I will be able to venture out and read outside of m comfort zone more often.
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Excellent choice for reluctant YA readers, especially male. I can't keep it on my shelf at school library. I was fascinated as well.
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The book is about a teenager name Steve who is facing murder charges.The book is written in two ways in form of a play and narrative from Steve himself.Steve believes no one believe him and he starting not believe himself.He was the look out while his friends robed the local store.If the jury finds him guilty he is facing the death penalty.
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Monster is a story about a young teenage, Steve, who is on trial for a murder. This story is wrote from Steve's point of view and he writes it stage play fashion. During the trial Steve take the reader back in forth between the past and the present to better help them understand his life. He is labeled as a monster by the District Attorney because of the crime that she claims he help James King commit. I think that was an easy read and would work great for teaching to a class. I think that a class could actually act out each scene as it is already laid out in a stage play format. I think this book would also be a great read for teaching students about peer pressure and some of the things that follow it. This book could also be use to show them how a justice system work. I think that after reading the book it would be a great idea to talk to the student about what could have happened if the trial had a different outcome.Although this book was an easy book to read, it would not have been a book that I would have chosen on my own to read. I do not really like reading books that are set up this way. It also does not fall in to the genre of books that I enjoy reading. There were part in the book that i enjoyed reading. I enjoyed the fact that it was like trip into Steve's on personal thoughts. I enjoyed the feeling that the author showed through his characters. Whiling reading the book the entire time I was hoping that the jury was find Steve not guilty and allow his a second chance at life.
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Steve Harmon was a typical teenager who just got caught up in a lot of drama. The district attorney is trying to trial him with a murder charge. There was a plan to rob a drugstore which Steve did not agree to go along with but King assumed that he was down with the plan. As we see that the plan went from robbery to murder of the drugstore owner. So as they all argued their cases Steve found not guilty. This book can help bring out many different concerns and/or connections to reality. You can teach your class the importance of being careful who you hang around even though you maybe just associates. Also you can take out time to talk about the judicial system and how the prison is being filled with teenagers now days. This can be a real eye opener to someone and you never know how you may help just that one person from spending the rest of their life in jail.I really emjoyed this book especially how he had it in as a screenplay. Its showed how the system works sometimes especially when it comes to an African American. Im not saying that in a prejudice way im just saying how the system will sometimes chager a little bit too harsh with out really reviewing and going over the evidence with details and really examining the case. But i really enjoyed this book and hopefully one day i will be able to read this book for my class.
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Monster written by Walter Dean Myers is a fiction novel that takes place in downtown modern New York City with "people going about the business of their lives...men collecting garbage...and students on the way to school"(11), or in other words a typical New York scenery. In this story Walter Dean creates a screenplay and takes reader's inside a trial of a young man by the name of Steve Harmon that has been accused of robbery and murder. Throughout the story the reader is forced to enter a court room scene where each character is questioned about the crime. As people are put one the stand, questions are asked, and statements are made, Steve is left to rely on his lawyer and hope for the best. My opionion about this book is that I thought the idea of creating a screenplay was very creative. For example, Myeres uses film dialect in that he uses words such as fade in, cut to, using abbrevations such as vo for voice over and ms for medium shot. I feel like it really creates the scene for the readers and makes them feel actually inside the story. Apart from the creativity of how the book is written some of the issues the book raises is peer pressure that teens feel trying to fit in rather than being themselves and the fact that in our justice system people are often prejudged for a crime rather than by law;being innocent until proven gulity. Myers' opinions about teen peer pressure is that it does happen and when poor choices are made their are consequences. As far as people being prejudged in our justice system Myers' wanted the reader to know that even though the law states a person is innocent until proven gulity people often times assume that they are gulity and the person has to prove that they are innocent. I agree with the author's opinions towards these issues because they are issues that people face everyday and it is always good to be able to have a personal connection with the story. In relation to the issues stated above some larger issues tha today's society is facee with is bullying in school which often times is from peer pressure and how people are unable to separate their own beliefs and values when dealing with the government. After reading this book my opinion about these issues just further confirmet the fact that these things do go on and it made me also wonder what can I do to possibly change them. Some ideas and comments for teachers that might want to teach this text can: 1) Can make all the students make a list of good and bad decisions that they have made in their lives and if they could go back what could they have done differently about the bad decisions that they made(Introduction to the text) 2) The book can then be read and maybe they can discuss how Steve might be similar to them and what they could do differently 3) Can also create literature circles. Overall, I thought the book was an ok book,only because it leaves the reader wondering about alot of things. I feel like the main theme of the book is that life is full of choices and whatever chocie you make be sure you are ready for the consequences good or bad.
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Steve Harmon, a sixteen year-old African American is implicated in a murder case. Of the four people involved, he is alleged to have shot and killed the storeowner in a robbery. He is so terrified of what he experiences in jail during his trial that he writes a movie script...the details of his trial. The word "monster" sticks to his head as prosecutor Petrocelli refers to people who steal and kill. Is he guilty or not? What did his defense attorney Kathy O'Brien see in him after the trial? Why did she turn away? A suspense!
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Monster is about a young teenage boy, Steve, who is accused of committing a crime at a drug store. One of his acquaintances, Bobo, places him at the scene of the crime, telling the jury that he was a part of the illegal act. Now it is up to the lawers and jury to decide the fate of this young man. The book is written in a script because after all was said and done, Steve made his experience into a movie. Teaching this book to a class would be great. It relates to so many kids who are living in dangerous areas and who sometimes associate with the wrong people. One good theme about this book that a teacher could point out to his/her students is that one must be wise in choosing who the associate with. Steve was a harmless guy, but since he chose to talk to the neighborhood criminals, they threw him under the bus and accused him of murder. Another good point about this book is that no matter what type of situation one is in, it is always important to always believe in yourself. Do not let someone wrongly accuse you of something you know you did not do. I actually liked this book. It was very easy to read and kept you interested in what was going to happen next. I cannot say that I can relate to this young boy, but I can only imagine that this was the worst experience of his life. My heart goes out to those who are wrongly accused of a crime. I know for a fact that I do not like people blaming me for something that I know I did not do. Growing up, I was brought up in a good town and great school and it just breaks my heart to think that crime, in some cities, happens daily and that it has no effect on some of the people.
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“Monster” by Walter Dean Myers is about sixteen years old Steve Harmon, who is on trial for murder. Steve is allegedly guilty for being the lookout of a store robbery that turned into a murder. To help him cope with prison, Steve writes down the trial in a notebook like a writer would a screen play. He aspires to be a director one day. This scripted story describes Steve’s struggle with himself. The prosecutor calls him a monster and Steve begins to think that he may be one. Walter Dean Myers decides to write this book in the form of a screen play. This is a very unique way to write a book, this helps the students experience diversity in literature. Diversity of genre is key to finding an interest in literature. This book is also very relatable to the students because Steve is around their age group. Steve’s story can demonstrate what can happen when people get mixed up with the wrong type of people. It also describes what peer pressure can cause. Teens are very susceptible to peer pressure; Steve’s story can open their eyes to the consequences of it.This book is not something I would usually read. If I had not been assigned the book I do not think I would have ever read it, but once I started I became quite interested in the emotional roller coaster of Steve’s story. The first line of the book really got to me. As soon as I read that line I was hooked. The idea of a sixteen year old boy sitting in jail every night listening to people fight and having to hide his emotions from the rest of the cell mates devastated me. I was on his side from the beginning. His ideas and thoughts throughout the story had me almost screaming how could they not think he was innocent! This young man was caused to see and hear things that no sixteen years old should. The outcome was a real surprise to me, but I was extremely pleased with it. The mystery of this story kept me turning pages. I would recommend this book to any future colleague or student.
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This dramatic novel,written by Walter Dean Myers, tells the story of Steve Harmon, a 16 year old African American. Harmon is on trial for murder in Harlem, New York. The plot centers around Harmon's real life experiences in jail awaiting his sentencing and the trial itself. The theme of Monster is based on the effects of peer-pressure and self-discovery. Steve is forced to come to terms with his own identity and realize that if he had not had given into the peer-pressure from James King, he would not be in his current situation. Harmon tells the story in a diary and screenplay format, so he can make it into a movie someday. Monster is a great way to teach students about the effects of giving into peer pressure and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Steve Harmon tells his story in a screenplay and diary format that is easy to follow and interesting. Monster also focuses on a court trial, and is a good way to teach the way a court case is played out and basic terminology. A good way to teach Monster would be to assign students' different parts and have them read aloud or even act the novel out in front of the class. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Monster and agreed with Myers' opinions. Myers did a great job addressing the struggles of growing up in Harlem, and the effects of 'falling into the wrong crowd.' Monster raises issues on the effects of peer-pressure, racism, street life, and how a mistake can effect a family. Monster did not address the issue of owning up to your own mistakes and taking responsibility though. I think that Myers should have had Steve take responsibility rather than being in denial. Steve stated several times that he was confused and simply could not remember if he was even in the drug store. One large issue that this book deals with is racism. After reading this book, I realized that this sort of discrimination in the court room occurs all of the time in the real world. Just because someone is a different race, does not necessarily make them a criminal. I believe that evidence and science should be what convicts a person of a crime. Monster was an outstanding book. It was a simple read, passed by quickly, and was easily understood. I think that this book is a great recommendation for any classroom in the secondary setting, and can have a great impact on adolescents' lives. Monster reminded me of seeing many court cases on TV and movies, and me trying to figure out all of the terminology and acts of the judicial system. I have not read many books concerning crime, so I do not have one to compare my arguments with. I felt much empathy for Steve Harmon because he was so confused and scared about what was going to become of the rest of his life since he was on trial for a murder that he could not recall helping with and could possibly face 25 years to life in federal prison. I understood how he could have easily fallen into the dangerous web of peer-pressure, but I also believe that if he did commit a crime, no matter how small it seemed, he deserved to pay for it. Harmon may not deserve 25 years to life, but he still should serve some time. I was able to relate and empathize with how he felt though, especially when Miss O'Brien would not hug him after the trial was over.
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Walter Dean Myer's novel, Monster, is a story about the trial of a 16 year old African-American boy named Steve Harmon. Steve is on trial for the robbery of a drugstore which resulted in the murder of the owner, Mr. Nesbitt. Throughout the story, we learn that Steve is not completely sure of who he is, he is just consumed by his court case. To cope, Steve keeps a journal and creates a "movie" of his trial. Because of this, the book is written as a screenplay along with journal entries from Steve. Teachers who may use this book in their middle grades classroom could make connections to the judicial system and how a case actually happens in court. The book uses terms (such as appeal, objection, sustained, overruled, etc.) that a teacher could introduce as vocabulary when teaching about the court system. Also, since the book is written as a screenplay, it could be used for reader's theatre and students in the classroom would be essentially creating their own "trial."I enjoyed reading Monster. It was very easy to read and I enjoyed going from the objective style of the screenplay to Steve's personal feelings and thoughts in his journal entries. I was very annoyed with most of the prosecution's witnesses. I thought it was extremely unfair that BoBo Evans was facing less time than Steve and he was one of the people directly involved in the robbery/murder. When I finished the book, I was pleased with the final verdict but the more I think about it, the more unsure I am. I wish the author would have revealed whether or not Steve was actually involved in the robbery.
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A book about this kid who gets discriminated in court and stuff.
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 Crime runs rampant in the streets of Manhattan, but it doesn’t go unpunished. This all becomes real for 16-year-old Steve Harmon in this thriller of a novel. What seemed like a regular “stick-up” turned into the ultimate demise of an innocent, hard-working, black man. And Steve, a young, black teenager, finds himself stuck in jail and on trial not for robbery, but for murder. Steve has watched others wreck their lives by traveling down the wrong path and disregarding the law, but now that he is faced with his own legal dilemma, he is unsure that he is ready to handle the pressure. Deep down inside he knows he is innocent...or does he? As he struggles with his conscience, unsure of himself and his own thoughts, another battle wages all around him, one that could land him in jail---for life---or back home, free of all accusation and guilt. And the confusion and uncertainty continue to rise as race seems to become an important factor in the trial of a black teenager. Monster is a suspenseful portrayal of the real world in the streets of Manhattan. It shows the reality of the situation and gives you an insight into the life of a suspected criminal. You are with Steve the entire way, through all the ups and downs, twists and turns, as you experience what it’s like to really be in the courtroom, at the podium or seated at the table. Soon you find yourself engrossed in a world of fear and uncertainty---Steve’s reality world---and you will be with Steve the entire way, feeling what he feels and thinking what he thinks. As you read the novel that is written like a script, each scene unfolds around you and you not only see the words on the page and imagine the world they describe, but you are in that world. You see the sights, hear the sounds, experience everything in the world of Monster. This book tests your will and twists your emotions, until you don’t know what side you’re really on.Walter Dean Myers has done it yet again. His fictional novel becomes a surprising reality for readers. His creative style of writing in this book, a script turned into a novel, unveils a stunningly real world for his readers. I would award this book 4 out of 5 stars. It grabs your interest from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end. Monster keeps you hungry for more and always on the edge of your seat as you are whisked away by a whirlwind of suspense and emotion. The occasional insight into Steve’s thoughts only adds to the shocking reality of the entire story. This book could be compared to Game by Walter Dean Myers in its racial aspects and setting in Manhattan. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more books from Walter Dean Myers’s thrilling repertoire.
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This is a serious book about Steve Harmon who is accused of being an accomplice to a drug store robbery that ended in a death and is currently on trial for murder. The story is told in a diary style where Steve decides to write his own experience like a movie screen play, a clever way to show the reader how much Steve wants to escape his own predicament. We get detailed descriptions of Steve’s feelings about jail and of the trial, but only vague glimpses of the day of the murder, since he never has the courage to revisit that day. This causes the reader to want to read more to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, the truth is never revealed even though the trial’s verdict is reported, leaving the reader with a sense that they will never know what truly happened.
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Monster, written by Walter Dean Myers, is a unique, engaging book that is captivating for readers of all ability levels. I stumbled upon this book in our library’s “textbook” shelves, where we have copies stored for our English intervention classes. Monster is used in these intervention classes because it qualifies as a “hi-lo” book: a high-interest novel that is accessible for students of low reading abilities. Initially, I was kind of skeptical about starting Monster; however, I was quickly converted into a fan once I got began reading Myers’s novel.With Monster, Myers presents the story of sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon, a young black man who is on trial as an accomplice to murder. Because the story is told from Steve’s perspective, we are led to believe in his innocence throughout the novel; however, the doubts that Myers lets creep in leave the reader feeling conflicted about Steve’s innocence (or lack thereof). Over the course of the novel, the reader watches Steve navigate through his new life in prison and fight to retain his sanity in a world of very real (prison-induced) madness. Myers’s depiction of life in jail is unflinchingly honest, presenting all of the horrors, sadness, and panic that accompany living in a prison cell.While the demographic is clearly hard to reach, Monster has the recipe for success with struggling male readers (the presumed target audience of the novel): a gritty portrait of modern urban life, a believable narrator who is a male of color, a courtroom drama, a murder that has been committed, and a very limited amount of “fluffy” writing. Even reluctant readers (many of whom hate everything that has been given to them in English class) will undoubtedly find themselves engaged in Steve’s story; however, more developed readers (such as yours truly) will still feel invested in the story and read through page after page to find out the verdict for Steve’s case.The most unique aspect of Monster is that it breaks the traditional novel format, incorporating journal entries, illustrations, and (most notably) film scripts into the storytelling. As with TTYL (which targets female high school readers), much of Monster’s strength comes from its format; however, unlike TTYL, the underlying story is captivating and memorable. Although the “screenplay” format that dominates the novel mimics the main character’s passion for film, it also allows Myers to engage with struggling readers in a much more accessible style of storytelling. Regardless of these sleight-of-hand literary tricks, Myers has crafted a novel capable of reaching a wide audience… including those very adolescents who find themselves hanging with the wrong crowd, like Steve Harmon does in Monster.
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Steve Harmon is a sixteen-year-old black teenager. Steve’s story begins when he is charged as an accomplice to murder. While in prison, Steve passes the time by writing his story like a screenplay. In it he tells of his fears, his past, and the events of his own murder trial. Is Steve a monster or was he merely in the wrong place at the wrong time? Will Steve be freed, or will his worst fear of spending the rest of his life in prison come to pass? As his lawyer Miss O’Brien tells him, “You’re young, you’re black, and you’re on trial. What else do they need to know?” The conflicting feelings of Steve’s guilt or innocence are a plotting strategy meant to keep the reader's mind working on the themes of the story long after the reading is done. Myers wrote this story for a youthful audience, and his plotting of it masterfully speaks to young readers in highly personal ways that deliver maximum impact while using a minimum of words. The story is a relatively short work as novel lengths go, but as the simple language works, so does the tight structure of the plot line. I find this book to be a great literary piece of work that would entangle any reader that picks up this book. Especially in the school I work at where it is statistically filled with a high percentage of African Americans, in which some of the students have spent their time in jail for similar charges. This book could reach out to those who share similar events or educate those who have the potential of being duped into the same role.
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Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. He is black. He is 16 years old. He is called a “monster” by the prosecutor who charges that he was the “lookout” in a robbery that led to the death of a convenience store owner. Steve is terrified about having to spend years in jail or worse yet, confronting the death penalty. Faced with this overwhelming situation, Steve envisions his trial as a movie and writes a movie script mirroring his experiences as he sits in the courtroom during his trial. His guilt or innocence is hard to determine, in part because Steve himself seems unsure about his part in a murder that occurred in December. Was he in the wrong place at the right time, was he somehow involved, or is he being completely unfairly accused by so called friends? I don't actually like this book all that much...
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Monster is a book about a 16 year old boy named Steve Harmon. He is on trial for felony murder for robbing a drugstore and killing a man. Throughout the book, he writes down his thoughts and fears while in prison. The other boys involved in the crime all admit to it, but Steve swears he was not at the drugstore December 22 when the robbery and killing happened. The book is his trial for the reader to see, and by the end his fate is in the juries hands.Monster could easily be used as a connection to young boys who might be going down a troubling path. For example, say a teacher works in a more troubled school district where kids are constantly involved in fights and conflicts, by having her students read the book Monster it could open their eyes to what could happen to them if they continue on that path. A concern I would have as a teacher is that the material at points is a little disturbing and scary. The writings of Steve Harmon really make you feel like you are in jail with him hearing the screams and seeing the fights. I feel like this may be a little much from some younger teens who are more naive.Monster was a very good book. At first, I didn't care for it because I am a very visual person and picturing this young boy in jail bothered me a little. The more I ready the more I got hooked. I felt like I was sitting in the court room with them and wanted to yell out "He's innocent!" Walter Dean Myers did a wonderful job of making the reader feel like they were part of the book, almost like one of the jury members. While reading, I really did feel like I was watching a movie on the edge of my seat. Monster was a great book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a little suspense.
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Walter Myers's, Monster, is a fiction book dealing with the issue of stereotyping. Steven Harmon, the protagonist, is a black sixteen year old male from Harlem, who was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, or was he? On trail for felony murder, Harmon decides to create a screenplay retelling the events of his trial. This book is a mixture of the screenplay that Steven is writing and his own personal journal entries. Harmon is convinced that he has done nothing wrong. However, his “acquaintances” as he calls them said that he was their look out, giving them the okay to enter the store. Throughout the trail Harmon's attorney tries to put distance between Harmon and the other defendants. It is not until Harmon takes the witness stand that the jury is able to truly hear his side of the story. Walter Myers is a black author who mostly writes about adolescents who are growing up in the streets of Harlem. Monster is a perfect example of the hardships that adolescents face in society. Looking beyond the storyline, the reader will realize that someone does not have to be put on trial for murder to be judged wrongfully depending on what side of town he or she grew up on or the color of their skin. Myers is able to demonstrate that stereotyping is a forceful habit that needs to be stopped through his character, Steven Harmon.Monster is very interesting the unique style works great with the storyline; it's just like watching an episode of “Law & Order,” but your imagination builds the stage. Stereotyping is an issue that is always going to be a problem; however, Myers's takes the issue and shows how one life can be affected for life. Hopefully by reading this younger generations will be able to grow up knowing that stereotyping is wrong and they can help change society's issue with stereotyping. The book really shows how peer pressure is a battle that children face throughout their adolescent lives; however, I do not think the book properly illustrated that it is better to stand by yourself than join any group that will take you.Concerns:- Stereotyping- RacismOne book that comes to my mind after reading Monster is The Scarlet Letter. Both books have entirely different plots but both deal with the issue of judging based on the situation. Harmon was already guilty of murder before he was given the time to be found guilty or not guilty, and Hester Prynne was judged by other born sinful humans for a crime that should only be judged by the Creator of the Law, God. The morals with which I grew up learning taught me that “if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Harmon's character is in that position at the beginning of the story, and the ending in a way leaves the truth to be discovered by the reader. Although the book dealt with stereotyping due to the people with whom Harmon was acquaintances, in my personal opinion this book dealt with the issue of racism. Had the character, Steven, been a white kid from the suburban community, he most likely would not have been stereotyped with the other people involved in the robbery and murder. The book really helped me realize that stereotyping a person is easier to do than giving them the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I strongly dislike that our society stereotypes its citizens due to where they live, the people with whom they associate, or the color of their skin. I believe that this book can allow for today's youth to be aware of the effects that stereotyping people is wrong and it can cause damage to the people being stereotyped. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, due to its unique style and the issue that it brings to surface. Furthermore, this book can show that reading can be fun and interesting to someone that may not like to read. I would rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars from the books that I have read throughout my life. So for someone that is not a big fan of reading, I would suggest Walter Myers's, Monster.
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Monster is written in first-person, from the point of view of a high school film student, Steve Harmon. Sixteen-year-old Harmon is charged with felony murder. To deal with the stress of his circumstances, Harmon distances himself from his situation by imagining that he is making a film of the trial. Thus, the book is written in script form, complete with directions for the cameraman (which can be a bit confusing). Readers experience the anguish of this young African-American teen as they try to determine whether the protagonist is innocent or not.
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