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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  75 reviews
A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And although he felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him.

His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend's girlfriend is relieved. His unicorn- and virginity-obsessed classmate, Faraday, is shattered; she wishes she had made friends with him that time she sold him an Iced Cappuccino at T
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Coach House Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  414 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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May 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
I appreciated the exoposure to some difficult topics that are still taboo in our society: homosexuality and suicide, but I found the plot strange and the characters difficult to relate to. I also felt like suicide was treated in a distant and cold manner (possibly on purpose, to show a cruel side to human nature), but it didn't get to the raw emotions and tragic impact this has on families and communities.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Because you are evil, you continue to live. Because funny that evil is a noun spelled forward and a verb spelled backwards. Because what you did to your son was the word evil as a verb, a verb that means to ignore someone to death, that locket winding around your boy’s neck, lurid neon signs, a verb that means to stand by, place your hands over your eyes while someone dies in front of you. The verb of not putting out your hand to save. That verb. That human-chandelier verb. That verb-an-unnatura ...more
Just A. Bean
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, canadian
This is why I avoid CanLit. I can't tell if the moral of the story was, "Everyone in the world is irredeemably selfish and awful, except maybe drag queens," or "The Alberta Catholic School system is so hypocritical and soul destroying that the only possible solution would be to burn it to the ground." Either way, this book was super depressing and mostly pretty pointless. I guess that the point was that everyone is fucked up and our kids are probably doomed, but it's possible I don't care.

Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cow by: Adrien
Shelves: canada, rainbow
[tw:suicide] This sure was a thing. A gay high school student at a Catholic school in Calgary kills himself after being bullied, four months before graduation. That happens just before the book starts. The book follows the rippling effects through a series of first-person vignettes over the course of the seven weeks following, through the parents, the principal, the guidance counselor, the favourite teacher, and the other students. His ex-boyfriend, his ex-boyfriend's jealous girlfriend, and oth ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
One of the most creative books that I've read this year. This book deals with the aftermath of a suicide in a high school. One of the strengths of the book is Mayr's ability to show the grief of the faculty and other students, and how they struggle to deal with the student's death. The scenes in the high school are true to life and full of honesty.

Interesting characters. The language is very playful and non-traditional. There are fantastical elements in the work, but they fit into the piece. Oth
Melanie Baker
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Has an interesting tone that is not unfamiliar in CanLit. There's sex and death, but no incest or drowning. :)

Not a bad read, and extra poignant post-It Gets Better, but can't say it totally grabbed me.
Barbara McEwen
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, lgbtq
Oooh, I really liked this one. Clearly with the suicide topic it is not going to be a happy book but it is a good book. What was it exactly that I liked so much? I really liked the characters. I think people feel more real to me when they are flawed, have bad qualities as well as good. I like how the different characters process the suicide differently and I like how you can see the flaws in the school system in dealing with the suicide and with LGBTQ people. But, it does all this without being ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's an odd novel. I liked it.
Allizabeth Collins
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it

A teen's suicide triggers a community to reflect on its actions. Students, faculty, and family members "tell" their own side of the story, while trying to make sense of a tragedy that could have been avoided.


Monoceros is definitely one of the most interesting books I have read in 2012. It is an unexpected and unique take on the aftermath of a homosexual teen's suicide, as told by the students, staff, and family he left behind. At first, I couldn't get past the sentence and
Luc Reid
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought the theme and the use of language and some keystone symbols (the unicorn, the sweater, etc.) were excellent, and in many ways this story was wonderfully done, as far as I read it--but I gave up 1/3 of the way through, and it wasn't easy to even get that far.

There are two things that prevent this book from working well for me. First, there's nothing drawing me forward. I'm not in suspense about anything. Patrick dies at the beginning, which is the premise of the book, but as of page wha
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giller-nominee
At the centre of Suzette Mayr's novel is Patrick Furey, a senior in high school who commits suicide after he is dumped by his secret boyfriend and is bullied by his boyfriend's girlfriend (it's complicated). From this shocking event unfolds the stories of seven people whose lives are deeply changed as a result of the suicide in their midst. It's not so much that these people were close to Patrick, but that they are startled awake and find crises in their own lives.

Monoceros is a beautiful novel.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
'So what is the appeal of a novel about teenage suicide?' This is what I was thinking before I started this novel by Giller longlist author Suzette Mayr. I really had no desire to read a book on this topic; I lived through all that teenage angsty-ness and really do not care to revisit it. So Mayr basically had a few knocks against her before I even cracked the book. By the end though I was surprised by how much I was moved by this book, and how much I enjoyed reading it. Mayr's wit is subtle but ...more
Adam Dunn
Mar 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: glbt
I wasn't sure what to make when I started this book, and now that I'm finished I'm still not entirely sure.
The plot seems set for a teenage audience but the language and sophistication of the writing means it's for adults.
There were elements of the story I really liked, the black 50's guidance counselor, the gilted bisexual (gay?) boy left behind, Santana from Glee up to her wicked tricks, the fact that the author named Ru Paul's biography as inspiration for the book.

Some other things I though
Angela Williams

This review and more can be found on my blog

I think I would have enjoyed this book better if it was written differently. I usually love books that are written from several points of view, but this time I found it slightly disjointed and I found that it didn't flow very smoothly. I also didn't really understand the unicorn theme that appeared to be prevalent throughout the book. I found it kind of odd.

With that being said, there WERE parts of this book that I liked tremendously. Some of this book
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Really enjoyed this brutally honest look at how one student's suicide affects those around him, from his teachers to his parents to his classmates. I loved how Suzette Mayr entwined so many different characters' stories, and how Patrick's death became more of the "jumping off" point, rather than the central issue. These characters all had deep issues of their own, but it was through the tragedy of Patrick's death that their own problems were brought to the surface. I also admired how Mayr create ...more
Oct 03, 2013 added it
As a Calgarian, this novel was even more interesting to read because I could identify with that specialized character - setting. Regardless of where you're from, you'll appreciate Mayr's stylized sentences and blended format. This novel begins with "The End," listing the "because" conditions which led a gay high school student to commit suicide. After this brief look into life before death, the novel spreads out to examine the impact of the suicide on the various characters connected, in whateve ...more
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't think I can explain how much I loved this book. My professor recommended it to me, and it really lived up to her recommendation. The writing is extraordinarily beautiful. Meyr uses fragmentation to a powerful degree. As someone familiar with Catholic schools, and the teachers that work in them, this is also an astoundingly accurate portrayal. If LGBT+ issues, education, or character portraits engage you, you will like this book.
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canlit, litfic, 2012reads
The book is about the lives of the people around a gay high school student after he kills himself. But what made it interesting is that the author moves between the different viewpoints, and we see firsthand how each person is affected. The characters were created with a level of detail and originality that was great. I didn't really get into it until about halfway through (it's a short book), but by the end I was completely involved.
Eva O'Brien
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a great book. The style of the book keeps the story fresh - each section is divided into day and then further separated by who has written it. A very honest and modern take on teenage suicide. Don't think that it's all doom and gloom because of the topic - a fierce drag queen by the name of Crepe Suzette (among other characters and events) keeps you smiling.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canlit, read-2012
A "must read" for teens, parents and teachers. Realistic, strong characterization, never descends into the maudlin. Extremely accurate description of so-called grief counselling in high schools. I loved all the characters but especially Faraday, Walter and Crepe Suzette.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
This author should have at least talked to a teacher in Alberta to find out if what its really like and not what she assumed.
In the 260+ pages only 3 or 4 pages were worth reading. The story of the dead boys Mom seemed most believable.
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
This one was one of those books that has always sat with me; colourful, engaging characters and incredibly important subject matter, I urge this one to be used for classroom and personal use.
Matthew Tyler
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Well. This was... depressing. I guess that was kind of the point, but, man. Read this surrounded by kittens. Something to perk you up from the tragedy of a high schooler who commits suicide, and how it affects the people in his life (from his mother, to his principal, the boy he loves (Ginger), and Ginger's girlfriend. The girl who, coincidentally, writes slurs on said high schooler's locker, and tells him she's going to kill him. The kind of torment one doles out when ones boyfriend is in the c ...more
Chanda Prescod-weinstein
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was so hard to read and I had to take lots of breaks. The short chapters were helpful on that front. Harder: no one seemed redeemable. The writing itself is magnificent. But the plot and character development were challenging, psychologically.
3.5. There were some stylistic elements that bothered me a bit (I'm really not a fan of using dashes instead of quotation marks), but overall I quite liked this. It was an interesting cast of characters, though I wished we'd spent more time with some and less time with others.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Although sometimes unbelievable, this book experiments with POV and structure and has some insanely imaginative metaphors and imagery. For the most part, the many characters were interesting enough to pull me along.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Mayr's prose was evocative and punchy in Monoceros. Her style felt experimental, fresh, bold. Her characters, though, were difficult to care about. Mayr jumped from perspective to perspective in a way that made me feel emotionally unattached.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this novel! Long-listed for the Giller Prize, deals with bullying and LGBTQ issues, could not put it down!
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review can also be found on my blog Just a Lil' Lost

A gay 17-year-old teenager commits suicide. And thus begins Monoceros, a novel about the aftermath of a teenager's death in Calgary, Alberta. Patrick Furey was gay, and was bullied for it. Leading the charge was Petra, Patrick's secret boyfriend's actual girlfriend. Broken up by the days after the tragedy, Monoceros delves into the fallout and how a boy that not many people remember too well could affect so many lives. His suicide becomes
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Suzette Mayr teaches English at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Mayr has spent her life in Calgary and Edmonton, where she completed her MA in English at the University of Alberta. She released her first chapbook, Zebra Talk, in 1991. Her first novel, Moon Honey, was published to critical acclaim in 1995. Her latest novel, The Widows, takes the reader on a journey with three women defying t ...more
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“I can always recognize the fellow wounded.” 5 likes
“Come out of that closet, baby, the air’s so bright and disco out here.” 5 likes
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