Series: Monument 14 #1
Also in Series: Sky on Fire, Savage Drift
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan
Publication date: June 5th 2012
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genres: Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic
Length: 294 pages
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
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 don’t know that I can say enough good things about this book. It takes place in a not so distant future where virtually all knowledge and communication is carried over The Network. Once the natural disasters start coming, the Network goes down…and fourteen survivors…fourteen children…end up trapped inside a superstore with no way to communicate with the outside world.
As many of you know…I didn’t start reading Young Adult fiction until I started this blog last year (no not even when I actually was a young adult did I read YA) and perhaps due to that fact I always go into a new YA book with a bit of trepidation. Will the voice be too young for me, will I be able to relate, will it just be too teen for me…? Some YA reads really do seem to appeal more exclusively to a younger audience and others are written in such a way that they transcend age barriers and have a much wider appeal. This is definitely one such book!
First of all I can find no fault at all with Emmy Laybourne’s writing style…which is always the first thing I notice when picking up a book. Monument 14 flows beautifully, the dialogue sounds authentic and I absolutely loved Dean’s voice. It was distinctly male (though written by a female) yet I had absolutely no difficulty getting drawn right into the story and connecting with him.
The pacing of the book is completely perfect, with the disasters occurring outside the superstore and within, providing the perfect framework for what to me was the real crux of the story: The kids. I loved that all of the horrific events going on kept the reader constantly on edge and wondering yet didn’t detract from the great interpersonal relationships that developed and grew between the children and teens as the days passed and they were forced to call upon their own individual strengths as well as depend upon each other for their physical and emotional welfare.
All of the characters were incredibly well fleshed out and multi-dimensional…in other words: I believed.The relationship between the brothers Dean and Alex was a joy to experience in all it’s complexity and that between the younger siblings Caroline and Henry was precious and sweet. The psuedo love triangle between Dean, Astrid, and Jake gave the book added substance without any untoward moments or excessive drama to take away from the real story.
Sahalia perfectly conveyed that awkward stage in between being a little kid and a big kid. Jake and Brayden showed that jocks can be so much more than just that. Baptiste…well he can come cook for me anytime….even though he’ll probably need a step stool to reach the sink. Chloe bugged the heck out of me, Ulysses warmed my heart, and Max kept me laughing and raising my eyebrows simultaneously. The character of Josie constantly surprised and impressed me. And I must admit that Niko…well… Niko had me at “Guys, we have to cover the front gates…right now.” [I think I may have fallen a little in love with Niko.] And I think the fact that I can so easily remember all fourteen names and personalities also speaks to the author’s amazing character development.
I wholeheartedly recommend Monument 14 for lovers of Apocalyptic tales (I know the majority of readers and even Publishers Weekly classify this as Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian but I beg to differ). I did not want to put this one down until I reached the conclusion and then I was left eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.