February 27, 2013

Book Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne

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 loved this book! What I really loved is how the action kicks in right away - you are barely into the book and BAM! action.  And it's not a little bit of action.  It's a crazy amount of scary, thrilling, life or death action.  Lately I've had a hard time getting into books, so it was perfect for me.  Plus all I could think about was how it would completely grab my middle schoolers - especially the ones who need action in order to really stick with a book.  I was worried though - what if the rest of the book didn't live up to the dynamic beginning?  I didn't need to worry.

I've read a lot of dystopia over that last few years, so it really takes something more to excite me when it comes to the genre.  I found it in this book.  I've been thinking about what exactly set it apart from some of the others.  I think a good part of was the fact that it's not just one or two people - it's a group of people including little kids.  It was a big more rounded for me.  I liked seeing how the addition of little kids into a group of teens trying to survive changed the play of events and their behavior.  It added a level I hadn't really seen yet.  

Although the pacing didn't stay has fast as it started, it was still good.  I never really felt like the story was dragging.  Mainly because, even though they were relatively safe, they still had conflicts and problems come up that had to be solved.  There wasn't much down-time.  What I liked too, about this pacing was that each problem was new and realistic.  I could see how teens (or anyone) trapped in this situation would have this conflicts.  They kept me reading because I wanted to know how they would deal with something I could see really happening.  Would it be how I would see people dealing with it.  I did also like that each conflict was dragged on and on.  It was there, dealt with and moved along.  I appreciated that.

As for the characters.  I pretty much liked all of them.  I mean a few did get on my nerves, but that was intentional because they were designed to get on the nerves of everyone.  I like the main character, Dean.  He was a likable kid wanting to do what was right, but caught in a horrible situation.  I really liked how he was with the little kids.  How he reacted and dealt with them, the situation and the other teens was realistic.  He wasn't perfect but he tried.  I found each character unique with his/her own voice.  Sometimes in a book with this many characters they start to muddle together.  I didn't have this problem - even the little kids were clear.  

Ok one side note: The whole time I was reading it I kept picturing Target and how the story would work there.  It was perfect!

The ending.....ARG! is all I can say, and I cannot wait to read the next installment!!!

Final Thought: Grabs you right away and never lets up!
Best stick-with-you image: The bus at the beginning - well done.
Best for readers who: Like action
Best for ages: 13+

For the Guys? For sure!!! I think it's a book for boys and girls.  There are enough characters of both to interests anyone reading it.  


  1. This sounds fantastic! When I was in middle school my friends and I seriously used to talk about how we wanted to live in a Target - comfy furniture, cute clothes, lots of food and stuff to do... We just never pictured the world coming to an end outside :)

  2. Great review. Thanks. I hadn't known about this book. I will check it out.