Published by Scholastic on April 21, 1999
Genres: Young Adult, realistic fiction, tough issues
Format: Print, Paperback, Audiobook, Overdrive
Steve Harmon has been arrested as an accomplice to murder. He documents his trial and the events in question through a film script. This is a creative look at a sixteen-year-old’s struggle to deal with the world around him.
Michael L. Printz Award (2000), Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (2000), Lincoln Award Nominee (2005), National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature (1999), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Fiction (1999)
Monster provided a unique look at the prejudice and misunderstandings of African Americans. Steve Harmon’s story was a look into Harlem culture specifically. This book examines innocence in light of prejudice. Readers will finish this book feeling a sense of understanding towards African American culture, a sad sense of understanding. This book is a great read because it provides an in depth look into what an environment can do to a person. Steve is in prison and starts to question whether he truly is innocent, despite the fact that he knows he is innocent. His environment is part of what put him on trial for his life in the first place. This book is strong for the focus on the environment and the culture around Steve Harmon.
This is a great book but the format of the book can take a reader out of the story. The format does not help with getting to the true feelings of Steve. At some points a reader may be unsure of what he is truly feeling. Instead of seeing it through his eyes, readers see the story through a lens he has created. It is a unique format but could be a deterrent for some readers.
This book is important for YA literature because it shows a dark side of the prejudices towards African Americans. A young boy is on trial for his life for simply being acquainted with someone who committed a crime. This book is important because it makes readers question their surroundings as well as themselves. It is impossible to finish this book without looking at our own lives. Steve’s story is unique and worth reading. The format, while it may be a problem for some, has the potential to draw in more readers with the easy way that it is laid on the page. This book deserves every accolade it has received.
This book is a written in movie script style about a difficult time in a boy’s life. A great activity to go along with this book is for teens to make their own script or movie. This movie or script could be based on a difficult part of a teen’s life. It could be a way to help a teen work through some difficult issues and/or find themselves. The movie or script could also be about something random in the teen’s life, just something to help them see themselves. Creating a movie or script is a great way to connect with Steve’s character.
Law plays a huge role in this novel. This resource provides information to help teens make law-abiding choices. It is meant to help teens from making any mistakes that could land them in jail.
Teen Law School, Inc. (2009-2015). Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.teenlawschool.com/
Steve pens this entire movie script while he is on trial for his life. Needless to say, screenwriting is an important part of this novel. This resource provides information on how to write screenplay.
Moreno, M. O., & Tuxford, K. (n.d.). How to Write a Screenplay: Script Writing Example & Screenwriting Tips. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.writersstore.com/how-to-write-a-screenplay-a-guide-to-scriptwriting/
I highly recommend the audiobook for this book. I listened to the full cast dramatization and it was amazing. It’s a quick listen (2.5 hours, approximately). Definitely worth listening. I don’t know if I would have liked it as much with the print.