Monument 14 Review
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Page Count: 294
Publishing Information: Feiwel and Friends
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. (Synopsis Provided by Amazon).
This book was good. It didn't blow my socks off but I did enjoy it. This book also deals with an array of social issues. I would name some, but I don't want to spoil anyone. The entire time I was reading the book, I was screaming, "ABSTINENCE" in my head. Abstinence from all sorts of things, like drinking and drugs. Some of the things in the book were very predictable, but some things, like the thing at the end, I didn't see coming.
The characters were... interesting. I disliked most of them, even the narrator, a lot of the time, I only really like Josie, Niko, Max, and Caroline and Henry all of the time. Though, I didn't necessarily hate the characters, it's just that I found them annoying because they didn't do things that made sense or things that I wanted them to do. Also, our narrator missed out on a lot of action because of his reaction to the chemical weapons spill.
Another thing, I felt the world building lacked a bit. This book is set in the future. Not far future, but still. It doesn't necessarily feel like the future, though. All that's different is that nearly everything is powered through this special technology which is all run by the Network. They also have tabs and big tabs which I assume is like a tablet and a smart TV, but I don't know because they are never actually described in the book. Other than that, their society is just like ours now. There is also a company or corporation or something called NORAD which causes a lot of trouble for the cast of characters... but it is never explain what NORAD is. The only thing you know is that an earthquake is responsible for the release of chemical weapons from the NORAD facility. That's it.
But, what the kids did and how they organized the superstore was very smart. They did things I would have actually done myself. Back to the characters, I don't feel like a lot of them developed much through the book. A few characters specifically went up and down with character development and resort back to the way they were before they made an epiphany. We only got to learn bits and pieces about the character's backgrounds as well, we never got a full picture of who they were. One character that comes specifically to mind is Max, who has had a seriously weird life, but we never really get to learn about it.
The writing wasn't high quality either, but that is something to be expected from a debut novelist, usually, and I can only expect her to get better as her writing career continues, but I did like the writer because it was really Dean's thoughts, which were quite hilarious and I understand why Laybourne wrote it that way. It's really what's going on insides Dean's head. (Oh, and it took forever in the book to actually learn our main character and narrator's name). I did like the quirkiness and uniqueness of all of the characters.
Overall, the book left somethings to be desired, which is why Emmy Laybourne wrote a sequel that I want to read now especially because of the cliffhanger of sorts at the end. The end did not go the way I had expected. It was a good book, but it wasn't some crazy masterpiece that will change the world... except maybe if something like the events in the book happens, then we'll know how to survive.
Oh, and it took me forever to figure out why the book is called Monument 14. They live in Monument, Colorado... and there are fourteen kids. I can't believe I didn't make the connection sooner.
Star Rating: 3.5
Favorite quote: "I was left there, wearing an apron, feeling like a middle aged mother whose children have discovered the mall." -Dean
(I think that's my longest review!)