Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

I gave this book a rating of four out of five. Steve Harmon is on trial for felony murder, and most of the plot deals with the courtroom testimony. Steve is accused of being the lookout during a drugstore robbery in which the owner was shot and killed. Witnesses testify that Steve's co-defendant was the actual shooter, and Steve appears guilty due to his association with him. Many of the witnesses are receiving deals from the prosecution for their testimonies, so the defense says the deals give them incentives to lie. They testify that Steve gave the signal that the store was clear to be robbed, but he firmly states that he was not there. I think the reader is still left wondering about Steve's guilt or innocence even after the verdict is read.

This book is unique, because it's written as a movie script. Steve is taking a high school course on film-making, and he feels his story will make an interesting movie. This style helps the plot move quickly, and it allows the reader to see the trial from Steve's point of view. The street slang of the witnesses and inmates makes their characters more real and believable. The fact that most of the plot is written as a script may bother some readers, but I feel it added an interesting twist to the novel.

Lexile level from lexile.com 670

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