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Last Night I Sang to the Monster
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Last Night I Sang to the Monster

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  6,448 ratings  ·  1,101 reviews
Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive - well, what's up with that?

I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things do
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Cinco Puntos Press
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Heather Different, but amazing in its own write ;). I've read both and together they put Sáenz in my 'all-time favorite authors' category

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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Zach is a high school senior. He is also an alcoholic. His mom is depressed, his dad is an alcoholic, and his brother is abusive. Zach has so much pain in his young life that he blocks out the events that led to his stay in rehab.

With the help of a kind and sympathetic therapist, and his roommates, Rafael, a 53-year-old alcoholic further along in his recovery, and Sharkey, a 27-year-old drug addict, Zach begins to confront his past and discovers that life is worth livi
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“The heart can get really cold if all you've known is winter.”

This is my favourite book of 2017. I know, it's only been a month and maybe I should add a "so far" but I doubt that there will be a book anytime soon, that will wreck me in such a beautiful way.

You probably heard of Benjamin Alire Saénz. You might have read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. You loved it. I did, too. But this was even better.
Last Night I Sang to the Monster is deeply moving. It tells Zach's st
C.G. Drews
Omggg this was so dark and heartbreaking and BEAUTIFUL. I freaking adored it. It's so brutal though and about just how deep the trauma of mental illness, addiction, and pain of being unloved can run. Like excuse me while I turn into that puddle over there.

Obviously I don't want to spoil the ending, but IT IS THE BEST ENDING OF MY HEART. I fully nearly gave it 5-stars just for that last chapter alone. I'm c r y i n g. Bless this ending and its perfect measure of darkness and hope.

I really loved Z
Amanda Rose
May 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wont give a summary of this book, because that's clearly been done about a hundred times below. What I will do, is tell you what I thought of it.

Anyone who has given this book a high rating clearly has no understanding of addiction or teenagers. The language in this book is tedious and obviously contrived. He uses the same expressions over and over in an effort to sound young, or cool, or edgy, but it mostly just comes off as obnoxious. If I had to guess, the author writes "That really tears m
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Thomas by: Nancy
This was a very dark, depressing, disturbing book. Yet, it was also beautiful and bittersweet.

Zach finds himself in a rehabilitation facility with no memory of his past. He struggles with the monster living in his dreams and inhabiting his thoughts. There are people that help him though - like his therapist Adam, who is always the optimist, and his roommate Rafael, a 53-year-old man with the eyes of a young boy. Through his time at the treatment center he tries to conquer his isolation and vanqu
Debbie "DJ"
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: addiction, own, fiction
I found this to be a little too simplistic for me. A lot of the dialogue felt repetitive, and it wasn't until near the ending that I learned what had happened to the main character. While this may not be a bad thing, it felt like much of the story was "filler" until I got there. Might be a better read for a younger person.
Michelle (Sherbet Lemon)
4.5 / 5

Trigger warnings up the wazoo with this one, and this is one of those ones that I can't say that I "enjoyed" as much as I can say that I thought it was masterfully crafted. After reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and being rather meh about it, I was unsure how I'd feel about this book. However, someone who went through rehab that I trust recommended it, so I downloaded it and checked it out.

And...this story made me feel a lot. While I haven't ever had a dru
Arch Bala
Eighteen-year-old Zach does not remember why he’s in a rehabilitation center for alcoholics, but with therapy and group sessions, he soon finds out that he’s capable of dealing with his past and be able to work on his recovery.

I decided to pick this up when I found out that the author was working on the sequel of his multi-awarded novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I just wanted to get a feel again, of how this author lured me the way he did with Ari and Dante’s stor
4.5/5 stars

“People who have monsters recognize each other. They know each other without even saying a word.”

Once again, Benjamin Alire Sáenz has rendered me speechless with another beautiful and touching story. His writing is not only full of powerful images and is profoundly poetic, but it also seems to captures feelings and emotions that can't be explained with literal prose. This was a very raw and quite heavy exploration of alchohilsm in a teenager and his experience inside a mental he
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: High School and above
I have to say that this has quietly become one of my favorite books. The story is about addiction and the walls in one's life that block recovery. It's about trying to forgive in order to live life. I'll admit it was a slow read for awhile, but I think it was a subconscious thing. The danger is that it's too easy to see yourself in the characters that are portrayed and that can be difficult, especially if you've dealt with any kind of recovery in your life. And who hasn't these days?
More than a
“I wondered what it was like to feel whole, to not feel torn up or stunned out or wigged out or any of those things. I wondered what it was like to walk around the world looking up at the sky instead of searching the ground, eye to eye with things that crawled.”

This book made me feel cold to my bones. It tore me apart many times, yet it was able to fulfill a part of me no other book could’ve. This is a beautiful story of recovery and slow healing from pain and grief; the type of book that makes
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Sáenz did it again. God wrote brilliant on his heart, and this book wrote grateful on mine. I am grateful for this story and for what it taught me.

This book is heartbreakingly underrated, so if you’re doubting whether or not you should give it a go, do it. You won’t regret it.
First there was this:

Then, after an intense journey of heart-stretching, mind-opening scenes of pain and love via real, honest and perfectly paced storytelling, there was this:

The ending was a miracle, like a breath of oxygen-rich air after rain.

Edit: ...still thinking about this book, a week later...

The day I returned this book, I gushed to the librarian how spectacular this book was. She inquired, "What's it about?" I stumbled through some ineffectual, inane, bumbling description. Only later,
This book packs an emotional punch that tears right into your heart.
It's an incredibly vivid story that starts off slow and before you know it, has you in its hooks. You start to root for the characters, living along their ups and downs.
It breaks you, and it mends you.
The writing is rough around the edges which only adds to the appeal and atmosphere the further to get into it.
Jessi ♡
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
hi guys there’s a way out always and i’m happy and i’m crying
update: I'm a rare 5 star person. It has to be an overall good book with a decent plot, sympathetic characters, unobtrusive language and a satisfying ending. And above all else, it should be believable. This book had it all for me.

As for a satisfying ending, some people like non-endings, like how "The Giver" ended. Some people, like G.R.R. Martin wants everyone dead and long forgotten as time marches on. I, more or less, like happy endings.

And believable, even if its paranormal/mythical, there
Carol Flores
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trigger warning: domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, rape and depression.

“I have a new theory", he said, "and the theory is this: if I develop a great capacity for feeling pain, then I am also developing a great capacity for feeling happiness.”

This quote was one of my favorites and it summarizes the book pretty well. Benjamin Alire Sáenz has been one of my favorite authors since I read Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe, and the more I read his novels, the more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I definitely did not plan on reading this. But from the moment i began it was so well written that it just sort of pulled me in. All i am going to say is that its really different from regular YA in a good way. And i was so pleased with the ending... Anyway basically it really helps me to see what others are going through and how little things can have huge effects and the reasons people may turn to drugs and the like. How important family life and growing up is to the children and where it can ...more
prag ♻
Feb 25, 2017 marked it as dnf
DNF @14% (for now)

It's too dark for my mental space right now, maybe some day later.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Simcsa by: M_ Nevesta
Sorry Judies, I couldn't get myself out of bed to eat, let alone update. These would have been my updates.


"Look," I said, "all I know is that only thing I'm in charge of is Zach."
Adam smiled. "And how are you doing with that?"
"I'm doing a pretty shitty job if you ask me."

I wanted to ask her if she was better. I mean, if she was getting well. I wondered if something changed inside of you. I mean, there was this talk about change all the time and I wondered how an
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
A beautifully heart wrenching novel that tackles seriously hard issues head on. Benjamin has done it again.

We travel with Zach through this book whilst he tries to remember and recover what lead him to Cabin number 9 and the facility he is currently living in.

We are introduced to a plethora of characters who are equal parts charming, loveable and soul crushing. I tested up throughout many parts of this book that I don’t doubt was the author’s exact intention.

This book deals with numerous issues
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
holy shit this book i don't have words
raya (a little mango)
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I do like and appreciate what Sáenz presents in this novel, and the writing style holds down a nice sense of prose blended with poetic flair and metaphor. At the same time, this story doesn’t grip me—and I mean really, truly grip me—the way other books do. I’m talking about books like There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Those are books that captivate my attention and emotions and seizes them very firmly. What I’m ...more
Have you ever read anything that put a sick, shook up feeling in your stomach? Like the words you just read put a dark cloud over your head and made you feel not just sad, but slightly ill? That's how I felt for so much of Last Night I Sang to the Monster...

This book is heavy, but luckily it is written in this really beautiful, poetic way that allowed me to still enjoy it as a literary work. Also, thank goodness, there is some sun shine peeking through those dark clouds by the end. So much of it
3.5 out of 5

While listening to the audiobook version of Last Night I Sang to the Monster, a realistic YA novel, at first I couldn't decide whether the book is exceptionally beautifully written or exceptionally beautifully narrated. I think it's the combination of both. Thanks to Benjamin Alire Sáenz's writing and MacLeod Andrews' narration, the main character's, Zach's, voice feels conversational and authentic, and I could understand, relate to, and even feel his pain, anger, sadness, denial, an
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
How Zach would put it: That really teared me up.

As I started this book, I confess I was expecting nothing less than the simply beautiful Benjamin's writing. I was fast disappointed since what I found was much different. "Last Night I Sang to the Monster" is the story of Zachariah, told with Zach's very own words, changing the tone of the narrative completely from the one we could expect.

However, as much as the first half of the book was hard to get through, beause I wasn't really connecting with
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autumn-reads
Heartachingly beautiful. Full review to follow tomorrow, when I've had time to digest.

This book caught me from the very first line: "Some people have dogs. Not me. I have a therapist. His name is Adam. I'd rather have a dog". I mean, anyone who's ever had to have therapy can sympathise with that. I found the relationships between the characters really honest and endearing, especially between Zach and Raphael.

Some books on mental health can get it so far off the mark but Benjamin Alire Sáenz got

God, Benjamin Alire Sáenz.... Every time I pick up this guy's books I'm just feeding my masochism.
This was hard to get through because it's 10% plot and 90% feeelings, feelings, feelings and I cried on the train there were people there and I had no tissues, I'm traumatized okay
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Benjamin Alire Sáenz didn't hit the big time until Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe came out in 2012. He already had four bilingual picture books, three YA novels, and a few collections of poetry and other works for adults, but his career took off like a jet when he started writing Ari and Dante's drama in the Texas desert. Yet people who knew his books before might have had an inkling in 2009 that his career was on the rise, when Last Night I Sang to the Monster hit book ...more
Rebecca McNutt
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Zach's story isn't just your run-of-the-mill sympathy-evoking troubled teen novel. Instead, it was written very honestly and truthfully, at times funny and at other times deeply serious. It was intriguing, gripping and vivid the whole way through.
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Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humaniti

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