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Monster (Monster #1)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  45,342 Ratings  ·  3,978 Reviews
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 Mo
Paperback, 281 pages
Published December 14th 2004 by Amistad (first published April 21st 1999)
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Betty Trevino I believe the reason O'Brien looks away from him is because she is recognizing the difference between "innocence" and being found "not guilty." The…moreI believe the reason O'Brien looks away from him is because she is recognizing the difference between "innocence" and being found "not guilty." The former is about lacking culpability and the other is about the justice system not having enough evidence to convict. Steve himself recognizes his own progression from believing he is innocent for not having done his part in the caper and understanding that he is complicit in events that lead to the death of an innocent man. O'Brien has dutifully performed her job under the law but both she and Steve's father recognize that he proved himself capable of being a part of something very ugly. (less)
Azalia It's really up to the reader to decide what Steve means, However, I perceived it as how the criminals and accused ended up in their individual…moreIt's really up to the reader to decide what Steve means, However, I perceived it as how the criminals and accused ended up in their individual situations.How they landed in jail, got involved in a crime, etc. But also how they tell themselves, "Its going to be alright", when in truth, it never is and never was. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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amended review, with spoilers:

are all teen books written in eye-catching, typographically unconventional ways?? or is it just this one reading list?? i have nothing really to say about this book, except that for a sixteen-year-old boy in jail, it might benefit him to adopt less girly handwriting. kids, stay out of jail. don't associate with criminals. don't lie about your involvement because any close reader will notice, and you will be screwed. and, really, less girly...

i have just returned fro
Jun 14, 2009 Greg rated it it was ok
Nowhere in the book does the pointlessness of what has happened get mentioned. The basic plot is that right before Christmas a drugstore on Malcolm X Boulevard gets robbed. The owner pulls a gun, the gun gets turned on him and he dies. The thieves steal the money in the register and a few cartons of cigarettes, that one of the robbers then sells on the street for five bucks a carton. There are supposedly four people involved in this mastermind heist that I'm guessing nets about $230 (six cartons ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: ala
Monster is an interesting book in several ways.

First, it is written in the format of a movie screenplay interjected with the main character's - a 16-year old African-American boy Steve Harmon's - diary-like entries. I thought I would not like this format, I do not read many plays, but it turned out to be quite the opposite - the format made the story much more dynamic. Steve is on trial for murder (he is accused of being a lookout during a robbery resulting in the death of the store owner), ther
Brenda Morris
Aug 03, 2007 Brenda Morris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: booksiteach
This is my most recent reading of a book I've already taught two or three times in ninth grade English classes. This is a great book for people who don't necessarily enjoy reading. The movie script format means the action moves quickly and may make it more appealing to people who enjoy movies a lot. Myers doesn't give too much away about the story either, which both builds suspense and leaves the reader with something to think about and to talk about. The 16 year old protagonist who is on trial ...more
Lauren Fidler
here there be spoilers. just sayin'.

So, i lobbied to add this book to my curriculum for 10th grade low levels next year. it's a quick read (although i suspect much less so for them) but it actually presents some very interesting ideas about identity, racism, guilt/innocence, and justice. the kids will all fixate on whether or not they think steve is guilty, which is sort of the crux of the action (he's on trial, suspected of being a "lookout" for a botcohed robbery of a convenience store where o
Drew (Drew’s Cup of Tea)
“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.”

Monster is a few different things. Most noticeably, it's a page-turner written in the unique form of a movie script. But it also analyzes the main character and his choices of morality.

Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon was convicted of being an accomplice in a murder and robbery. Terrified he's going to end up in prison for life or get sentenced to dea
"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 who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER."

Actual rating 2.5

Monster is a hard book to review. While reading it, I could definitely see the appeal and why so many people loved it as much as they did. It's well written, the format is fascinating, and the storyline is the opposite of dull.

I can p
Stephen M
Sep 24, 2014 Stephen M rated it liked it
All the interesting elements within the book are rehashed in the lawyer's closing statements. In it, we're forced to go through every plot point in the book -- except that during these lawyer soliloquies all the events in the book have been condensed into a few sentences. That renders the entire book pointless. This alone could have been a successful short story if Myers had published just that section of the book. King be damned! Cut out the unnecessary; leave the essential! Have we learned any ...more
Liz BooksandStuff
May 03, 2016 Liz BooksandStuff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I don't know what to believe about this story, I don't. I am still trying to figure out if it is a good or bad thing.

This book is told through diary entries and as a screenplay by the main character. Yes, it is not the conventional way of doing things, but I thought it a beautiful way to tell the story, even though everything this man writes is gold. This helped, as questions relating to race, dehumanization, relative or subjective nature of the truth and identity began to rice within me (also,
Mar 21, 2008 Calvin rated it really liked it
Monster HarperCollins Publishers, 2001, 281 pp., $8.99
Walter Dean Myers ISBN-13: 9780064407311

Did you ever wonder what happens after a person gets arrested? Well, I have always wondered what happen to the people that walk to a police precinct with handcuffs. What happen to the people that get sentenced to jail for life. Can a person come out and restore their lives again? How can people get back on their feet? Well, Steve Harmon did. Steve Harmon is a 16 year old African American boy, which is
Jan 07, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
The book has a unique format; it is written as a movie script. This format gives the reader more blatant clues about setting, and vocal cues (such as subdued, whispering, and showing anger) than would a traditionally formatted novel. There are also variations made in typeface and font that give other cues to the reader. I’m not entirely positive this was all necessary though. The plot is incredibly intense, and a first person narration might have been just as sufficient in telling this story. Ho ...more
Crisainy Valdez
Dec 15, 2014 Crisainy Valdez is currently reading it
I give monster a rate of 5 stars because this book is such an amazing book. I love this book because of the mystery of it. It gives us clues of who murder Mr.Nesbitt. In this book a young man named Steve Harmon had been put in jail because he supposably killed a man that worked in a drug store. But there is a twist to this story because Steve is making documentary about his like in jail, he puts a lot of stuff like trial,when he is sleeping and much much more Steve was changed 25 years to life f ...more
Dylan Tsao
Mar 26, 2015 Dylan Tsao rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-comfort
I loved this book, it was fast and easy to read. I loved the way how the book was written which was like a movie script and a journal. This was really interesting to me as this was the first book that I have ever read in this format. I highly recommend this book to someone who is looking for a quick book that they can rush through. As you can tell, I started this book on the bus, read 45 pages then continued when I got home. In total this book took me about 3 hrs to finish. Even though the book ...more
Dec 10, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a criminal book. I know many people have read this book. for those who haven't read it, it is about a young African American teenager who gets blamed for a crime. A lesson i learned from this book is "Never believe in anyone who seems to be loyal." this leeson means that in any case you really think a person is loyal and is a good friend to you, and who u trust, don't happen to have much trust in them because u know know what they're like until the end.

Feb 19, 2008 Christine rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015

This book was okay.

The format was really weird and kind of hard to follow, but the story was okay.

Would I have picked up this book without being forced to? No. Was I forced to read this book by my English teacher? Yes.

If you like books about trials over a murder crime then you'll like this book.
If you like books that have a weird format, you'll also like this book. (Good luck trying to follow the story, though)
If you like books that repeat the same thing over and over again until you basica
Kevin Bracety
Mar 27, 2015 Kevin Bracety rated it it was amazing
This book had me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. I absolutely loved this book. The cover of the book had me liking it from the start. Monster is written like a movie script. this helps because it is less intimidating than most books that go in with more detail.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is truly a Mystery type of book. It is about a African American teenager who gets in trouble with the law. Steve Harmon is looking at Twenty-five years to life in Prison. Steve doesn't know w
Definitely an interesting novel that garners discussion. I can't wait to discuss it at book club!
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for

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 structu
My son liked this book, mostly because he liked reading it as movie script. It is a visual story and works well in this format. I liked it because it is a young readers' title with an unreliable narrator. Most youth books don't take this risk, and it gives the reader a little more trust and responsibility in figuring what is really going on. Still, the story seemed simplified, both to fit the movie script format and also possibly not to overwhelm the reader. This would be a good title for a youn ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
Oct 14, 2015 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
By Walter Dean Myers
Publisher Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Source Audibook Sync
Ok so I am less than impressed with this book. I get that not all of the people in jail should be there etc etc, etc but then still, if you were with a group that aimed to rob a place of business and somebody happens to be killed, then guess what. You are guilty. In the end I loved the fact that the book ended open. That not even the people in the boys life knew and that he tried to figure out wha
Mar 29, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
A 14-year-old black teenager is on trial for his life. He's been accused of being complicit in the murder of a store owner during a robbery.

We see all things through Steve Harmon's perspective. He decides to make a movie about his trial, so we read the trial as a script for a movie. We also get to see his journal notes that are spread throughout.

The title and thus the book, including our protagonist Steve want us to think about what constitutes a real monster. Is he one? Is he innocent? Is he st
Danielle Williams
i think this book really makes you think and can make you dig deeper into yourself than maybe before perceived possible by you. It makes the human life so much more valuable to the reader and even makes them think about their own basic human right of freedom and how quickly it can be taken away from them. Also makes you realize that the choices you make do matter and that you should always choose your crowd (even acquaintance) wisely and realize that being "bad" and "cool" and "tough" are not al ...more
Corey Wessel
Dec 10, 2015 Corey Wessel rated it it was amazing
The Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a young adult novel about a man named Bob (Richard) he robbed a store with a few of his friends and someone end up dead. They were put in trial and things aren't looking good for him, he is accused of many different crimes like murder and armed robbery. He thinks to himself what is he, even human? He calls himself a MONSTER and thinks everyone looks at him that way now that everyone knows it was him robbing the store and that he was apart of the murder that ca ...more
Matthew Hall
Feb 05, 2009 Matthew Hall rated it it was amazing
The book that im reading is called monster and the author is Walter dean Myers it's a realistic fiction. The book includes real events that happen in everyday life or in the ghetto. It has a lesson that its goes like you get in trouble cause your in a wrong place at wrong time or you hang with the bad people and there at the somewhere at the wrong time.

The book monster has a three main chacters and they play a big part. Those chacter in there is Steve who is the victim but also imamate he stands
Jacqueline Quinn
Apr 13, 2013 Jacqueline Quinn rated it it was amazing
I love this book for so many reasons. The main character, Steven, is clearly a smart, intelligible sixteen-year-old. He is a student at Stuyvesant High School, one of the best public schools in the country and New York City (and admission based on an exam). His parents are caring --his father is a Morehouse alum. Yet--he is still a sixteen-year-old, searching for self identity and expression. He is loved yet faces challenges every day in his neighborhood and the individuals he is acquainted with ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Jenni rated it really liked it
I was a little bit hesitant to read this book but had heard great things about it from after attending a reading/writing institute which focused on young adult literature. I didn't know until after I purchased it that it was written in play script. I don't normally enjoy reading books written in this format, but this book wouldn't have been the same without it! For sure it added serious intensity and drama which fits the theme of the book. This is a book that I am considering teaching to my 8th ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Lakyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-ya
I think I would enjoy this book more if I were actually reading it with students and seeing their reactions/hearing their opinions. For me, it was one of those books that I didn't necessarily love, yet I am still thinking about it and processing it so I know it's important. The screenplay format and Steve's diary entries were an interesting take on trying to separate the Steve we learn about in the courtroom from the Steve that is portrayed through the diary entries. I think students, especially ...more
Marie Gentilcore
Aug 27, 2015 Marie Gentilcore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I enjoyed this short book or novella very much. The main character, Steve, is a 16-year old living in Harlem. He is on trial for participating as a lookout in a store robbery where the store owner was killed. I liked the story presentation which is told as if it were a film script in Steve's mind. Steve is a film student in high school and has made some films of his neighborhood for class so it was believable that this might be how Steve would see his situation. The story grabbed my attention ri ...more
Monster is extremely thought-provoking as it is quite ambiguous and brings up a lot of important topics, such as identity, racism, guilt vs. innocence (also legal vs. moral innocence), and justice system. Check out Tatiana's review for a great list of questions the book raises.

Bonus points: Monster is written as a movie screenplay with a few diary pages. Very engaging and effective!
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Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
More about Walter Dean Myers...

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“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 who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER.” 25 likes
“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.” 19 likes
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