Parent and kid reviews for Monster

Common Sense says

Provocative book about teen on trial for murder.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 28 reviews
Adult Written byJesse419 July 6, 2010

Eye opener

Good Book. Took me an hour or so to read it. This was my first time reading a Walter Meyers book. I think it is appropriate for 8th or 9h graders. It can open there eyes a little. As for the sexuality, violence and language I think it sets the tone of the book without going over board with it because lets face it teens to early adulthood say far worse. I think a lot of ppl in general have been faced with some kind of peer preasure or wanting to excepted in there life and from what i got from it that's what this book was about. A teen growing up in Harlem who wants to be excepted by the so called "tough guys" of the neighborhood, but at the same time wants and has a bright future a head of him and from one mistake brings his hopes and dreams to a stand still of the possibilty of spending a very long time in prison. It was clear that he was guilty and pretty much just got lucky. This book shows teenagers and young adults what could happen if you get caught up in the wrong crowd and give in to peer preasure. This is a extreme case of just that but this kind of thing happens everyday, not just with ppl in Harlem but ppl from any where. I think more teens and young adults need to have there eyes opened to such things. We all know what it is like to be in similar circumstances maybe just not so severe. My thoughts are that Steve did participate in the crime. Maybe he chickened out at the last moment maybe he didn't but he did participate and in result was involved in felony murder. King knew he would participate because he knew Steve looked up to him. Osvaldo participated because he wanted to make a name for himself. King Participated because he looked up to Bobo. Bobo did it, well because he wasn't right in the head. King might have not shot the clerk but this is what happens when you hangout with ppl like them and think they are loyal because 99% of the time they're not and will tell lies on you/ rat you out to save there on behinds. That is pretty much what they all did. Bobo, Osvaldo and King all did that to get lighter sentences. Steve just lied and said he was no where around these guys and barley knew them when it was aparant he did and hung out with them. He got lucky. Do I think he should have got 25 to life? No, but I do think he should have been punished. Robbery is a serious thing. I know none of them expected it to go down like that but that is the risk you take when you do something of this nature. What I hope young readers get out of this book is this, all these kids were bad. There was no hero of this story. These kids commited a horrible crime, lied, cheated in anyway not to go down for it. Those so called "Tough guys" that you might idolize, hangout with or want to be like might not be so tough when the heat is on and authorties of any stature start asking them questions and acussing/ bust them. Names will start spewing from there mouth and they won't have an ounce of regret. So stay clear from stuff like this. Check your priorities and take a look in the mirror. It just shows how quick incidents take to spiral out of control and you're on the other end fighting for your life.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written bytheatreteach September 12, 2009
This story does deal with racism and a little bit of violence and sex, but it is very educational and interesting. Definitely a worth while read.

This title contains:

Educational value
Positive messages
Parent Written byconservative mother June 3, 2011

Excerpts from the book, not for my 8th grader.

Questionable Content: Excerpts PAGE: 36-37 ZINZI (A male child) “These guys were…sexually harassing me, sir.” BRIGGS “Sexually harassing? Were they calling you a sissy? What does sexually harass mean to you?” ZINZI: “They wanted to have sex with me.” BRIGGS: “So to save yourself from being gang raped- Is that what they wanted to do to you?” ZINZI: “Yeah” PAGE: 43 “I’ll get me an Uzi and blow his brains out.” PAGE: 50 “He is smoking a blunt” PAGE: 57 Inside the detention center; “We hear the sounds of fists methodically punching someone … we see two inmates silhouetted, beating a third.” “…and the sounds become those of a sexual attack against the inmate who was beaten.” PAGE: 73 Death Row, death camber; “Open your legs; we have to plug up your butt so you don’t mess yourself as you die.” “Steve’s face grimaces with pain as they put in the plug.” PAGE: 105 “She found out I got another girl pregnant.” PAGE: 107 “You have to fight a guy who’s already in the club to show you got the heart.” “You got to leave your mark on somebody.” PAGE: 121 “They killed a little girl just about 2 months ago and she was just sitting on her stoop.” PAGE: 139 “First I was scared of being hit or raped.” Monster, continued. PAGE: 140 “Everybody in here either talks about sex or hurting somebody.” PAGE: 143 “There was a fight just before lunch and a guy was stabbed in the eye. The guy who was stabbed was screaming, but that didn’t stop the other guy from hitting him more.” PAGE: 149 “King is bleary eyed and smokes a joint as he talks.” PAGE: 203 “I can understand why they take your shoelaces and belt away from you when you’re in jail.” I find this book totally inappropriate for 8th grade, there are so many other books to choose from. I do not want to explain what a gang rape is to my 13 year old.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 7, 9, 12, and 13 year old Written byConservative Mom November 10, 2009

Inappropriate for under 17!

As a parent, I am so disappointed that my child's teacher assigned this book and now she will be ostricized because I will most definately NOT allow her to read this book. The author could have told the story minus the graphic sexual attacks and other violence. Why expose my child to those things at her age (13)? The book is shallow and without merit.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Adult Written byteach26 March 26, 2009

Appropriate and Necessary

First of all, the sexual references in this book are so slight and passing they are negligible, and second--there is nothing "immoral" or wrong with sexuality. It is a part of life. This book tells a heart-wrenching story of a boy on the cusp of adulthood, facing decisions that most adults never have to make. While he is determined to be a good big brother and role model to Jerry, his little bro, he is also sucked into the street life of his older acquaintances. As a new high school teacher, I will most definitely be requiring my students to read this book.
Parent of a 2, 6, and 14 year old Written byadnetn March 1, 2009

Outraged and Appauled!

I am outraged and appauled that my son was required to read this book in school. Sexual references are immoral and entirely inappropriate for any reader - much less a high school student. Don't waste your time.
Educator and Parent Written byMediaXpert April 13, 2014

Tense, Well Written, and Expressive.

THE BOOK: Monster is about 16 year old black Steve Harmon. He is on trial for a murder that he is ALMOST sure he did not commit. It portrays the reality of the American judicial system, and how it mistreats minorities. THE RATING: While this book wasn't exceptional or moving, Walter Dean Myers does a good job with the entire book. It conveys how scared Steve is; the courtroom intensity; and how unpleasant prison is. AGE: Rated PAUSE for 12 and up for violence, blood, disturbing images, and implied sexual content. Some people believe that because this book has mature content, it is not good. And indeed, there is violence, blood, sexual content, and drug material, but it isn't over the top; it's in the context of the story.

This title contains:

Educational value
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bymonkeysmd August 26, 2011

Good

This title contains:

Educational value
Adult Written byJosieKiper April 7, 2011

Good, but not fully appropriate for younger teens.

It was a decently good book, but some of the side topics may not be age appropriate if you are under 14 or 15. Being as how the maturity level of teenagers has risen through out the years, 13 may be acceptable too. The amount of swearing is very low, although some words are a little bit rude or harsh. I personally think the book was pretty good, and I would reccomend it to someone between the ages of fourteen and twenty.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written byt.r.reader December 6, 2010

Such a shame to rate this as "iffy"

If there's an infrequent use of "mild to moderate" language and implicit or passing references to sexual activity, I'm unsure why this book would be rated so highly for sex and language. Violence? Of course violence is part of "Monster;" the story is about a young teenager on trial for aiding in a robbery which results in murder. I rate this as appropriate for ages 13 and up not for any "controversial content," but because Myer weaves such a complex story, following the protagonist, Steve, as he struggles to understand how he's come to this point, his overwhelming trial, his dreams in life. Readers are left to figure out Steve's guilt or innocence; Steve himself must grapple with who he is versus what others see him as. Though these questions are never explicitly asked, Myers' story encourages readers to consider how we view young, urban black men; how these perceptions are internalized; justice; how a life (potentially) derails. "Monster" is a quick read that will draw in reluctant readers with its mixed journal and screenplay-style narrative, but be warned: it not only entertains (because let's face it: it's just a darn good story), it also gets kids and teens to think.

This title contains:

Educational value
Adult Written byemmae June 25, 2015

School

We read this as a class, at school. It is great!!! One of the best books I've ever read, for school. Of course I do like the books I actually get to choose, but for being "forced" to read it, it's amazing!!!

This title contains:

Educational value
Positive messages
Parent of a 15 year old Written byallihamp March 8, 2011
i think the book was good it teaches you a lesson about robbing a store that its not a good idea

This title contains:

Positive messages