Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Monument 14, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

When I describe a book as amazing and oh-so-fabulous, I really do mean that. It is amazing and VERY fabulous– one that I liked a lot. But when I describe a book as epic, that's a whole other story. Because you see, when I think epic, I think of nation-wide panic, cars flying everywhere, the world ripping apart, and hey, there might not be a day after tomorrow. Monument 14 is a novel I would describe as epic.
I have a thing for apocalyptic novels. I don't know why. It's just the possibility of something that could happen any moment that has my attention in it's grasp. Emmy Laybourne has written something which has me clenched in it's fist, tucked in tight and won't release me. I read this on the plane ride home and I couldn't stop. I almost feared this novel because of the epic-ness at hand. This novel doesn't look too big– but it has so much in it. I'm still amazed at how much fit into around 300 pages.

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.

From the moment the story starts, we are already on full-alert. We know something's going to happen and it's coming very, very soon. This world in which our main character, Dean and the rest of the kids are stuck in was very well built. It's already somewhat set in the future, with more advance technology, such as minitabs and a huge system called The Network, but you still get a sense of the world we live in today, with school buses (although the usage of that particular mode of transport is used even more than today because of the gas shortage), grocery stores and the like. Which brings it to an even more frightening reality that this might actually happen to us someday.

Even though there were several characters (fourteen kids!) I found that it was easy to connect with almost all of them. Dean, the most, because he's our narrator and main character throughout the novel. Then we have the rest of the high schoolers: Jake, Astrid, Josie, Niko and Brayden. Two eighth graders: Alex and Sahalia, and then six little kids: Chloe, Max, Ulysses, Caroline, Henry, Batiste. I really enjoyed each ones little quirks, like Max's hilariously funny stories (he doesn't get why they're so funny though), Batiste's religious ways, and Chloe's constant complaining. When it comes to the older kids though, I'm pretty so-so with the characters. 
I didn't like Sahalia at all, she was too much of a wannabe, trying to act grown-up and ends up having to pay for it. I loved Josie, she was such a strong leader and all the kids looked up to her. I thought that she should have been the one in control of the whole situation, to become the leader. She seemed capable enough, so it was a slight disappointment when she didn't take the stand. Dean, of course, was a great character, but I hated that he kept mooning over Astrid, when clearly, she loved Jake (and Jake loved her). It got a little tiring when he keeps thinking about her when she "leaves" the group for some time. It was somewhat annoying. With Astrid, Jake and Brayden, I was always either liking them or hating them. Fitting, since they are the popular kids at school, and you can't really end up loving them. Niko and Alex were both... so out of it. Niko was a good leader, he clearly knew how to survive, but he seemed sort of not-there. Alex barely made appearances, there were small mentions of him time to time, but not such a big role for him other than fixing electronics and when he had a falling out with Dean.

As the effects of the "apocalypse" get worse, several things happen. Radiation leaks, chemicals fill the air and it changes the people. Throughout the book there are encounters with other people, adults who come to the grocery store. Some of them completely freaked me out! It's quite thrilling, because you really don't know who to trust in the end and what's to happen.
The ending of this book really does give some hope, although it's shocking as new revelations occur and the pace shoots off in the end. I really loved it, however I'm curious to see how Laybourne will continue this series. There's definitely several ways in which this story could go, (and I can't say too much because I'm afraid I'll give it away) but I feel she did leave enough for readers to imagine what can happen to the characters and the story, and get them pumped up for book 2!

Monument 14 has the workings of an action-packed race for survival. I wouldn't be surprised to see this become a movie, as Laybourne is quite a well-known actress having acted in several movies and tv shows, written out like a set screenplay, with no dry spots and will engage readers from start to finish.

**Thank you to Kate from Macmillan for sending me Monument 14 for review!**

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  1. I got to meet the author of this one and she was hilarious! I'm looking forward to this one.

  2. This is on my wishlist! I love the boy's voice, and I love how he cares for his family

    I LOVE how all the characters are different and how you can connect to all of them:)

    Great review:)


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