Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: June 5, 2012

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 hurdle 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. ~ Courtesy of Goodreads
Every one loves a good disaster story. They're fascinating and scary. Possibly scarier than any supernatural horror story could ever be, because wild weather can actually happen. It could be sunny one minute and then BOOM! A tornado strikes. You're going about your business and BAM! An earthquake. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne tells the story of one huge, devastating natural disaster that spawns more disasters, creating possibly one of the greatest disaster stories of all time. The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, all great disaster stories, and I'd put Monument 14 right up there with them.

Monument 14 is far from your normal post-apocalyptic thriller. Laybourne takes all of the usual elements, but somehow blends them all together into something that feels fresh and new and real. From having a tech genius eighth-grader (a kid who happens to be kind of good with computers and likes to think about things logically to suppress his fear) to the six eight-and-unders (who aren't just faceless children, but each have they're very own personality and problems to deal with), the characters of Monument 14 are not the generic cardboard cutout characters from a lot of post-apocalyptic novels. The jock, the boy scout, the bully, the popular girl, the nerd. They're all there, but as you read, the labels begin to fade away. They become real people who you feel for throughout their ordeal.

Dean is a lovable, witty narrator. He tells his story in a way that makes you love him. He may not always do the right thing, but you still like him. That, I think, is the sign of a well-written character, when you can't not like them no matter what stupid things they do. In fact, all of the characters are well written. Laybourne has a way of making the characters feel so real, especially the younger kids, that it really disturbs you to think that something bad could happen to them. You begin to like all of them so much, even the ones you don't think you could ever like. You get to know these kids, and you really feel it when something devastating happens to them.

Monument 14 is also one of those rare books that I believe boys will actually enjoy. It's got action, adventure and it's fast paced and will hold their attention. The character's don't just do stupid things to propel the story along. It's a book that boys can imagine happening to them. They can think of the things they'd do in a similar situation. And I'm not saying it's not a girls book. Girls will love it, too. Trust me, Monument 14 is a fantastic read, regardless of gender.

Laybourne tells the story of the 14 survivors of Monument, Colorado in a brutal, yet still humorous, way. It's an action packed and serious read, while still maintaining a fun air about it. It kept me reading long into the night. And when I'd finally put the book down all I could think about was picking it back up and getting back to the Greenway with the kids!

Monument 14 is a great story. I might not necessarily recommend it for younger readers, but thirteen or older should be mature enough to handle it. The foul language is essentially censored by the narrator, Dean, but there is still some drug use and mentions of sex. Nothing foul or graphic, but it is still present in the novel. There is also violence and death, so if that's not something you'll enjoy, well, you know what you like and what you don't. And parents, you know what your kids can handle, but there are definitely a few good life lessons learned throughout the story. Monument 14 is a great read that I think people, young or maybe not so young, should check out.

Check out Monument 14 at these great sites!

Read the first chapter of Monument 14 HERE.

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  1. Fantastic review! I wasn't that interested in Monument 14 at first, but now you've got me excited!

    1. I was excited to read it when I first discovered it, but then I read a few bad reviews, and it totally put me off. I'm so glad I won a copy, otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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