April 24, 2014

Review of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Page Count: 294
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Dystopia

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

I've know about Monument 14 for over a year now but until a couple of months ago I didn't have time to read it. It was always hovering around the top of my TBR list but I only read it after I met Emmy Laybourne in March. I got both Monument 14 and its sequel signed and then finally after a year read them both.

The concept of the book was similar to several others I've read over the years but Emmy Laybourne was able to make it different enough that I could enjoy it. In Monument 14, several kids (some from high school, middle school, elementary school) get stuck inside a Greenway when their buses are pelted by a giant hailstorm. The one teacher they had with them goes to get help while the kids try to understand what's happening in the outside world. Several disasters occur outside (earthquake, chemical gas spill) and leaves them trapped inside the store. Over the course of several days/weeks the kids live inside the superstore and have to deal with numerous issues like food, sealing the store, chemical gas, and outsiders. While it's a bit of a short read (only 294 pages) its fairly enjoyable and interesting. Since the book is the first of a trilogy it ends with a slight cliffhanger that leads on to the sequel.

In total there are fourteen kids stuck in the store but the person narrating the book is Dean, one of the highschoolers. The story is more or less told from his point of view and he can be considered the main character even though the others are major ones as well. One qualm I had about Monument 14 was the lack of secondary characters, there was few if any at all. While it was nice to have so many major characters I felt like adding in some secondary ones would have contributed to the novel. Despite that, all the characters were realistic and acted the way I would imagine a bunch of kids would if they were stuck in a store. Some freak out and cry, some turn to drugs, and some take charge and organize. Emmy Laybourne did a very good job with the characters and how they applied to the plot and I didn't have any issues other than the one I mentioned before.

Monument 14 was a good, solid read that I enjoyed and wanted to keep on reading even after it ended. Although it was a bit of a short read I would recommend it to people who like dystopian and YA novels, natural disasters, or are looking for an enjoyable quick read. On a side note, like I mentioned before I met the author (Emmy Laybourne) in March and she was pretty awesome. She took my picture with Jessica Brody and it was only when I went to her booth that I realized that it was her that took my photo.

5/5 - Really good book

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