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Last Night I Sang to the Monster
Cover of Last Night I Sang to the Monster
Last Night I Sang to the Monster
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PEN America Literary Award Finalist, PEN America Editor's Choice Award / Fiction 9-12, Library Media Connection Best Fiction for Young Adults, Top Ten, American Library Association (ALA)A finalist for...
PEN America Literary Award Finalist, PEN America Editor's Choice Award / Fiction 9-12, Library Media Connection Best Fiction for Young Adults, Top Ten, American Library Association (ALA)A finalist for...
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Description-

  • PEN America Literary Award Finalist, PEN America
    Editor's Choice Award / Fiction 9-12, Library Media Connection
    Best Fiction for Young Adults, Top Ten, American Library Association (ALA)

    A finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award, this novel sensitively captures a teen's recovery from alcohol abuse and depression.

    Zach is pretty sure that when he was born, God wrote Sad on his heart. Now, at eighteen, he finds himself with a drinking problem and walking the halls of rehab instead of high school. The thing is, he doesn't remember exactly how he checked in.

    Instead of a dog, Zach has a therapist. He'd rather have a dog. The dog wouldn't push Zach to remember. Maybe remembering would be worse.

    But as Zach tentatively makes friends and opens up to the process, he begins to wonder if he might be capable of happiness, too.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an award-winning novelist, poet, and writer of children's books. His many acclaimed titles include the picture books A Gift from Papá Diego, The Dog Who Loved Tortillas, and A Perfect Season for Dreaming; the young adult novels Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood and Last Night I Sang to the Monster; and the adult story collection Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, all from Cinco Puntos Press. His Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe won the Printz Award, young adult literature's highest honor. Ben lives and works in El Paso, Texas. Visit his website at benjaminsaenz.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 28, 2009
    “I don’t like remembering. Remembering makes me feel things. I don’t like feeling things,” writes Zach as a homework assignment from his therapist at the outset of this psychologically intense novel. Tracing 18-year-old Zach’s somewhat disjointed but utterly candid monologue during his stint at an institution, readers will feel his fear as he remembers the events leading to his hospitalization and meet his “monster,” the unnamed force that appears in his dreams. But breaking through the chaos of Zach’s internal worldare two remarkable individuals: his fatherly roommate, Rafael, and therapist, Adam, whose determination to make Zach whole again never falters. Zach’s progress advances in small steps, and there are plenty of setbacks. Fellow patients who have become his friends leave suddenly, and the sadness of other lost souls is nearly too much for Zach. However, the good that comes from his struggles far outweighs the dark moments. Offering insight into addiction, dysfunction and mental illness, particularly in the wake of traumatic events, Sáenz’s (He Forgot to Say Goodbye
    ) artful rendition of the healing process will not soon be forgotten. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2009
    Gr 9 Up-At 18, Zach finds himself in a therapeutic residential program as both an alcoholic and a post-traumatic-stress patient. In evocative and compelling language, Sáenz allows an at-first barely articulate, almost amnesiac Zach to show his progress toward remembering and integrating his past into a present with which he can cope. He is guided along the way by a sympathetic and wise therapist, a middle-aged roommate whose own recovery is on an arc ahead of the youth's, and several credible and interesting minor characters. The techniques and realities of such a facility are realistic and fully drawn: addicts who gather for cigarettes, nightmares, group sessions, breathing therapy. Sáenz weaves together Zach's past, present, and changing disposition toward his future with stylistic grace and emotional insight. This is a powerful and edifying look into both a tortured psyche and the methods by which it can be healed."Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal, starred review
    "Sáenz weaves together Zach's past, present, and changing disposition toward his future with stylistic grace and emotional insight. This is a powerful and edifying look into both a tortured psyche and the methods by which it can be healed."
  • Publisher's Weekly, starred review "Offering insight into addiction, dysfunction and mental illness, particularly in the wake of traumatic events, Sáenz's artful rendition of the healing process will not soon be forgotten."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Zach's first-person voice is compelling and heartbreaking. Sáenz' poetic narrative will captivate readers from the first sentence to the last paragraph of this beautifully written novel, which explores the painful journey of an adolescent through the labyrinth of addiction and alcoholism. It is also a celebration of life and a song of hope in celebration of family and friendship, one that will resonate loud and long with teens."
  • Booklist "There is never a question of either Sáenz's own extraordinary capacity for caring and compassion or the authenticity of the experiences he records in this heartfelt account of healing and hope."
  • Matt de la Peña "Benjamin Alire Saenz's new novel is a gift of honesty and poetry and heart... This novel sang to me from the opening page and never once hit a false note."
  • Linda Sue Park, author of When My Name Was Keoko "I cried with Zach all the way through this book: tears of rage and sorrow--sometimes laughing--and finally, tears of hope and joy. Thanks to Ben Saenz' pitch-perfect writing, Zach will stay in my heart for a long time."
  • El Paso Times "Benjamin Alire Sáenz's most devastating and exquisite novel to date."
  • Library Media Connection "Zach's story as an alcoholic is a painful but positive reaffirmation of the human spirit."
  • Oneota Reading Journal "Sáenz does a wonderful job of painting Zach's struggle while in a rehab center where the Zach fights his inner monster. This inspirational story can help middle to high school students learn about the beauty of life, hope, healing and family."
  • El Paso Scene "Last Night I Sang to the Monster will provide younger readers with reassurance that they are not alone in dealing with the demons of dysfunctional families and painful memories."

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    Lee & Low Books
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