Monster: A Graphic Novel

illus. by Dawud Anyabwile. 160p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Amistad. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062275004.
Gr 9 Up—This is the story of a teenager named Steve Harmon who is on trial for murder and robbery, but it is not clear if he's guilty or not (in part because we see the story through his eyes, and he is reluctant to admit the full truth). Steve is interested in film, and so much of the story is told in a screenplay format. The screenplay idea worked well as a novel in the source material, and the format was noticeable enough that it jumped off the page and readers could clearly understand what was going on in Myers's Printz-winning Monster (HarperCollins, 1999). But this graphic novel adaptation is clunkier in its attempts to use this same format. Steve shares that he wants to make this story into a movie, and then readers are presented with traditional words and images often depicted in comics, which may confuse teens about whether they are seeing the movie idea or just the graphic novel format. Anyabwile's black-and-white artwork will give this tale added visual appeal, as the scenes portray the action takes place from different characters' points of view, as well as close-ups of conflicted emotional expressions.
VERDICT This graphic novel adaptation will introduce this story to a new generation of fans, but unfortunately it does not maintain the strength or the style of the original novel.

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