Book Review

THE BEAST
by Walter Dean Myers

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Young Adult

RT Rating

Walter Dean Myers is a children's and YA author with too many books—and awards—to count. His latest book is an honest, true-grit tale on par with
all his other novels.

Spoon returns home to Harlem after spending one semester at a fancy prep school outside the city (read: mostly white kids) and is having a hard time readjusting to his once-familiar world. It's not that things have changed since he left—more like Spoon has changed, something he doesn't want to admit. He sees his friends getting pregnant, dropping out of school and succumbing to drugs.

Spoon's biggest concern is his girlfriend, Gabi, who was once determined
to go to college. Now, she's also fallen on hard times—and has turned to drugs to help her through it. As Spoon struggles to save Gabi from her self-destructive ways, he must learn to either love who she's become or leave her forever.

The writing is lyrical, especially when Myers reveals the character of Gabi. He shows us her struggle to live up to her strong Dominican-woman persona, and also shows that despite Gabi being smarter than the decisions she's making, Gabi finds it too easy to do the wrong thing. Spoon's world is forever changed, as he says, "It was always the older guys getting into trouble, or the older girls. Now it's my friends…" (Oct., 170 pp., $16.95)

Reviewed By: Taylor Morris

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: October 2003

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