Monster

Walter Dean Myers, Author, Christopher A. Myers, Illustrator Amistad Press $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-028077-2
In this riveting courtroom drama, Steve Harmon, a Harlem teenager involved in a murder, recounts his trial in the form of a movie script. The objectivity with which he records testimony and flashbacks of events leading up to the crime (""Steve is sitting on a bench, and James King sits with him. King is bleary-eyed and smokes a joint as he talks"") belies the deep emotions Steve expresses in his prison journal: ""I go to bed every night terrified out of my mind. I have nightmares whenever I close my eyes."" Readers will not question the 16-year-old's relationship to the crime; that is established early in the novel. However, opinions will vary as to whether Steve deserves sympathy or rebuke. Myers (Scorpions; Somewhere in the Darkness) masterfully conveys the complexity of Steve's character by presenting numerous angles of his personality. From the prosecuting attorney's point of view, he is a ""monster."" According to a character witness, Steve's high-school film teacher, Steve is ""an outstanding young man... talented, bright, and compassionate."" The only person who does not offer a clear, pat appraisal of Steve is Steve himself. Even after the verdict is delivered he is not able to make sense of who he is: the final image of him filming himself as he gazes into a mirror, searching for his identity (""I want to look at myself a thousand times to look for one true image"") will leave a powerful, haunting impression on young minds. This would make an ideal companion to Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy for an insightful look at a teenage suspect's lost innocence. Ages 12-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
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FORMATS
Library Binding - 281 pages - 978-0-06-028078-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-440731-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8257-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8362-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7887-4564-5
Hardcover - 978-0-08-038077-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-21336-3
Prebound-Glued - 281 pages - 978-0-613-35985-6
Hardcover - 271 pages - 978-0-7862-7093-4
Hardcover - 281 pages - 978-0-307-26021-5
Compact Disc - 2 pages - 978-0-7393-3592-5
Prebound-Sewn - 281 pages - 978-0-7569-0587-3
Paperback - 231 pages - 978-0-7862-7363-8
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-178288-6
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-178294-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 320 pages - 978-0-06-178291-6
Hardcover - 978-0-06-052186-8
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-86508-290-5
Compact Disc - 2 pages - 978-0-7393-5556-5
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