Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Book Review)

June 14, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 19 ★★★★★

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Book Review)Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #1
Also in this series: Sky on Fire
Published by Feiwel and Friends on June 5, 2012
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Survival
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
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.

Wow. This book was SO different than anything I’ve read before, but I actually really loved it. I was in the process of reading Monument 14 when I got to meet Emmy at the Fierce Reads author tour stop near me a few days ago. I loved hearing her talk about her book, because it made me understand and enjoy the story even more. She said that this book is pretty dark, and that a lot of sad things happen to wonderful characters. Originally, so wondered what was wrong with her. Why would she do that? She answered that question for us. She said she did it so that her characters would be able to show heir humanity towards one another. That even during the darkest, most bleak times of our lives, we humans will do what we can to let our light shine through from within. I loved that thought, and I immediately went home from the tour and devoured the rest of the book. I’m SO glad I read it, and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. What a unique idea for a story! Think of any survival story you’ve read or seen in movies/TV: Castaway, Survivor, Lost, Hatchet, Lord of the Flies, etc. Then put those survivors in a huge superstore (like Target or Walmart) and you’ve got Monument 14. The world outside the riot gates that they were trapped behind was completely falling apart: natural disasters, chemical spills that affected people depending on their blood type (some people blistered up and died, some became vicious and attacked others, some became incredibly paranoid, and some lost all their reproductive function.), scary people trying to get in, injuries and sickness, depression. These kids went through all of it.

2. I loved the characters. These kids were amazing, and made the entire story. And when I say kids, these kids are KIDS. There were a few older teenagers, and then a bunch of little littles, like 5 years old. The little ones were adorable, and just like the kids I’ve taught at school. They warmed my heart, and were so sweet. Batiste was a bit of a mini doomsday priest, but lightened up when he got to assist Dean (the MC and chef) in cooking really detailed meals for the rest of them. Niko, a boy scout, is appointed as leader and has to keep everyone safe. Josie becomes the level-headed mommy of the group. Alex (Dean’s brother) takes care of the logistics and electronics. Everyone has a job, and everyone does it. Some of them start of resistant and very immature (and downright jerky), but grow into adults very quickly. They all became so mature and responsible. I loved seeing these young people grow. They really did shine through the darkness to take care of each other and provide.

3. They were so smart! I loved what they did with the store. The renovated the dressing room to serve as bedrooms, they blocked off a “dump” for trash and bodily functions, they sealed off the vents from the outside so the chemicals would not come in, they took baths with bottled water, they knew how to use the pharmacy, etc. The older kids knew what to say to the little ones to make them feel better. I loved reading about all of this. So often, kids are labeled as being naive and unable to do anything for themselves. As a teacher, I know that this is not true. Some of my students have taught me more than the adults in my life. I really appreciate Emmy for allowing these kids to reach their fullest potential. Kids deserve more credit than they get.

4. The fight for survival was amazing to read. I love reading about people who gain courage and determination when they are faced with the decision to sit and take it, or to get up and fight for their lives. We got to see a different part of these characters as the need to survive grew bigger, and time was running out.

5. This story was SO fast-paced! There was no down time or time to recover. One thing after another after another happened. I was tearing through the book to see what happened. Emmy told us at the signing that her brother compared the book’s plot to, “being handcuffed and thrown down a flight of stairs. It just goes bam, bam, bam, bam!” I totally agree! Haha. And then when it’s all over, you’re just laying there going, “Whoa…”

6. Emmy’s writing is wonderful. She’s an amazing storyteller. The details and word choice she used made the story an experience, rather than a book.

I’m going to quit while I’m ahead, because I want to give you the chance to experience this for yourself. Haha. I know the bulk of my review focused mostly on the characters, but that’s because they were what brought me back to the book when I had spare time. If Emmy had thrown a different bunch of people together, I’m not sure it would have been such a powerful and moving read. Maybe it’s just because I’ve worked with so many little kids, but the message behind the book was inspiring. I really can’t wait to see what happens next!

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

19 Responses to “Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Book Review)”

  1. Sabrina

    Yay, this book sounds great. It’s already on my wishlist and your review makes me excited to get and read it.

  2. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    I love survival stories! And good characters? Now I’m intrigued. :) Lucky for me, I was sent all the Fierce Reads titles for review, (though I still have yet to read this one and Struck). Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  3. Jana

    I do know you’ll all love this book! :)

    Natalie, lucky you! Can’t wait to see what you think of this one. :)

  4. Alexa

    I love that it features a cast of kids – the idea of this group in a crisis in a superstore is really cool! Been seeing reviews for this everywhere, so I can’t wait to read it now!

  5. TSaxon1

    A lot of people say this is a rip-off of The Mist by Stephen King. I think it is too, but I think I’ll pick it up :)

  6. Cali W.

    I love dystopian books like this, great review and I am glad you liked it. The author is cool too.

  7. Alexandra

    I really liked this book too! I also loved the little kids. Especially Caroline and Henry! :)

  8. Tammy

    I really liked this book. After reading it I was hoping sometime they’ll hopefully meet some adults they can trust and the group will be reunited.

  9. Nancy L.R.

    I so need to reread it! This book is so neat! Specially since the kids are in a situation, meaning shelter, that I would like to be in if the world were to go to crap. SO cool that we get to read about it.

  10. Susan T.

    I love apocalyptic reads! I’ve never read one that takes place in a super store though! If the apocalypse strikes that is where I would want to be.

  11. January

    Awesome review! This definitely sounds like my kind of book! I love reading about different disasters and dystopias. It’s also hard to find a book with both great characters that’s fast paced as well! :D

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge