Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids 
One superstore 
A million things that go wrong.

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.
This story started off with a bang. The first chapter had plenty of action and it sets the pace for the rest of the book. A bus load of children, ages 5-17, are struggling to understand what has happened to the world after a series of catastrophes. Luckily for them they have crashed into a superstore (think Walmart) so they have plenty of food and supplies but no idea what is really going on in the rest of the world. And no idea what has happened to their families. A very scary premise for sure (although staying in the store would be kind of neat!).

The characters seemed stereotyped at first but grew and developed as the story progressed. Some were very unlikable until more of their back stories were revealed. I found it interesting how the author had them problem solve and work together. Although they were young children and teens, creative ideas were introduced that were mostly believable for their ages and intelligence. They had to battle for their lives but had many unknowns. That actually made for a more exciting read because the characters and the readers didn't exactly know what the real enemies were. Heroes and villains emerged as the characters were thrust into roles they didn't necessarily choose and were also different from the roles they fulfilled in their "real" lives. Dean is our narrator and a junior in high school. He had always been bookish and on the outside fringe of the popular kids but here he became one of the leaders. He also has a genius younger brother Alex to worry about although his own knowledge becomes important to the survival of the group. The youngest children were very likable and provided a nice balance and some comic relief. The older kids became stronger and less selfish protecting them.

The writing moves quickly and feels like the voice of a teenager. It builds to an exciting ending with a major cliffhanger. I definitely want to see what will happen in next book and look forward to following these young people on their journey. I felt this was a successful debut and hope the action continues!

Monument 14: Sky On Fire due summer 2013
Thank you to Macmillan (Fierce Reads) for an arc to review.

Fierce Reads

Release date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 294
Type:  YA dystopian

1 comment:

  1. AwwI need to read this book!! Even though I am not a big fan of Dystopia these times I still would love to read this book!


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