Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Series: Monument 14 #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan on 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 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 was lucky enough to meet Emmy Laybourne several weeks ago. She was the first author I have ever met, and, boy, can she tell a unique tale. Her debut novel has a Lord of the Fliesfeel to it as many kids of varying ages fight to survive in a superstore while an apocalyptic event is literally occurring outside. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve only ever read books that describe an event that happened in the past. Reading the event as it happened was equal parts captivating and terrifying.
I really enjoyed watching them fend for themselves. As a reader, you learned a lot about the tendencies of different individuals to react in certain situations and I truly did enjoy the amount of characters in the book. There was everything from a few stupid jocks (sorry to feed into that stereotype, but that’s how they were characterized) to a Boy Scout who knew how to survive anything; a gorgeous champion swimmer and a girl who wears her hair in giraffe braids; a bible-thumper elementary schooler who is an amazing cook and a set of twins that just wants their Mommy; a set of brothers who do nothing but write and show their technological genius while another elementary schooler can barely speak any English. And not to mention the thirteen year old that just wanted to impress the big kids, but we all know is really a little kid. The array of characters was endless and enjoyable since everyone legitimately brought something different to the table, but it also proved to be problematic. It took a solid third of the book for me to connect all of the distinct attitudes with the right person because there was such a huge cast. I’m hoping that perhaps book two can be slightly more organized in this sense.
The plot in this book is incredibly imaginative. In less than three hundred pages, I was taken on the survivalist journey of a lifetime. I never saw any of the plot twists coming, though I had gut feelings about a select few of them. Some were so completely unexpected that my mouth literally dropped open Jake near the end, anyone? but, again, it took me a little while to get into the book. After I was a third in, this book was a breeze. The large troop of characters combined with the incredibly unique writing style that Laybourne uses made focusing on the beginning of this book rather hard. At times, I wished she could add more detail because everything was simply. But hey, I guess everything’s supposed to be as simple as possible when the world is apparently ending.
Just a warning, there is not much gore in this novel, but there is a few deaths, violence, some cuss words, underage drinking, and the mention of using pharmaceutical products to get high. I would not recommend this book to anyone that is younger than fourteen.
With all of that being said, I really did enjoy this book. For such a bubbly person, Laybourne can write a tale that is wonderfully twisted, dark, and extremely complex in her unique and simple writing style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a unique post-apocalyptic book that is a quick read, but I would be in no rush to get it. The ending is absolutely killer and leaves you begging for more. If you are anything like me, I would wait to read this book once the release of book two, SKY ON FIRE, is closer, because I can honestly say that I’m slowly going to go insane with anticipation.