Michael L. Printz Award winner and Margaret A. Edwards Award recipient Walter Dean Myers is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. He is the author of Handbook for Boys; Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam; Monster; Bad Boy: A Memoir; and the Newbery Honor Books, Scorpions and Somewhere in the Darkness. He lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his family. You can visit Walter Dean Myers online at www.walterdeanmyersbooks.com.
Gr 7 Up-Steve Harmon, 16, is accused of serving as a lookout for a robbery of a Harlem drugstore. The owner was shot and killed, and now Steve is in prison awaiting trial for murder. From there, he tells about his case and his incarceration. Many elements of this story are familiar, but Myers keeps it fresh and alive by telling it from an unusual perspective. Steve, an amateur filmmaker, recounts his experiences in the form of a movie screenplay. His striking scene-by-scene narrative of how his life has dramatically changed is riveting. Interspersed within the script are diary entries in which the teen vividly describes the nightmarish conditions of his confinement. Myers expertly presents the many facets of his protagonist's character and readers will find themselves feeling both sympathy and repugnance for him. Steve searches deep within his soul to prove to himself that he is not the "monster" the prosecutor presented him as to the jury. Ultimately, he reconnects with his humanity and regains a moral awareness that he had lost. Christopher Myers's superfluous black-and-white drawings are less successful. Their grainy, unfocused look complements the cinematic quality of the text, but they do little to enhance the story. Monster will challenge readers with difficult questions, to which there are no definitive answers. In some respects, the novel is reminiscent of Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy (DK Ink, 1998), another book enriched by its ambiguity. Like it, Monster lends itself well to classroom or group discussion. It's an emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing.-Edward Sullivan, New York Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"Chilling and engrossing." - New York Times "A riveting courtroom drama that will leave a powerful, haunting impression on young minds." - Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A novel that in both form and subject guarantees a wide teen audience." - Horn Book (starred review) "A riveting novel with breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes. Taut and moving." - Kirkus Reviews "The sheer authenticity of the novel and its presentation are disquieting-and totally riveting." - Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Committee "The drama of the situation and the ethical questions raised will keep the audience not just reading but thinking." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "A fascinating portrait of a terrified young man wrestling with his conscience. The tense drama of the courtroom scenes will enthrall readers, but it is the thorny moral questions raised in Steve's journal that will endure in readers' memories." - Booklist "Monster is a subtle and provocative novel about what it means to be alive in our time." - Riverbank Review "Riveting. An emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing." - School Library Journal "The youthful, vulnerable voice will draw in YA readers, boys and girls." - Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) "The unusual format and easy style combines with powerful content to make an unforgettable book." - Language Arts