From the beginning of this book I knew it was not your average murder mystery. When I heard we had to read a book written by an African American, my mind immediately went to The Color Purple. I had my heart set on reading this drama but I decided to read something I usually would never pick up. A murder mystery. After finishing Monster by Walter Dean Myers I knew I made the right decision to step out of my comfort zone because it left me with one single question. Guilty or Not Guilty?
The Plot: Myers tells the story of a sixteen year old African American boy, Steve Harmon, and his journey on trial for felony murder in Monster. Harmon treats the whole situation seriously but he also decides to tell it in a play and diary form. This book exposes what a sixteen year old feels like going through this type of situation and how one action could change your whole life.
Why you should read it:
As I said earlier this book is not your average murder mystery. This book is not average murder mystery because the story is all about Steve Harmon’s trial. Usually, a murder mystery is about detectives finding out what happened and sometimes they can be gory, but not this book. The only description of what happened at the site of the murder was exposed to the reader in his diary entries in the book. I really liked the way the book was written because to me it felt like a fresh take at a murder mystery. All the way through the book I was never able to guess what would happen next. I can usually do this in a typical murder mystery but in this book there was no way of knowing what would happen next. Also, in some murder mysteries the reader at the end of the book is able to figure out who committed the crime/murder. Again, this was not the case in this book and I think this is why I liked it so much. From the beginning to the end of this book I had no idea whether Steve Harmon was guilty or not. I usually don’t like reading a book with unfinished ends but for some reason it felt so right to be left with this question. Overall, people should read this book because it is a very well written murder mystery that leaves you wanting more. I liked it so much; I can actually see myself re-reading it down the road. If you don’t take my word on this book then you should know that this book was nominated for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 1999 and the Coretta Scott King Award Honor in 2000. It also won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2000. Yeah, it’s that good. If my opinion doesn’t persuade you to read this great book hopefully the fact that it is a highly recognized book does.