Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Length: 294 pages
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 began Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 with high hopes- it had been on my “To Read” list on GoodReads for a few months, and despite the mediocre ratings, I was so intrigued by the premises that I simply couldn’t resist. Was my hope wasted?
Packaging: 3.5/5 Stars. The cover of the book isn’t my absolute favorite, but I do really like how they portrayed some of the main characters on the cover, as well as the disasters in the distance. The feel to it is rough and sandpaper-esque, but it doesn’t easily tear and is durable.
Writing Style: 3/5 Stars. The writing style was good, but once again it wasn’t my favorite. I feel that at times it could be sloppy, and rushed things that could have taken time to develop.
Characters: 3/5 Stars. The characters were all very interesting- they’re not particularly likable, and all have their ups and downs. I also felt that some things were over the top, such as the super religious kid, or the bratty and “rebel without a cause” teenage girl. However, I did like how, although the author designed the characters to be of a certain stereotype, such as jock or nerd or outcast, he gave them qualities that they wouldn’t exactly be expected to posses.
Plot: 4/5 Stars. I had such high hopes for the plot of this book, and I wasn’t exactly disappointed. The details of the apocalypse were fascinating, and I loved reading about how they survived in a supermarket, as well as the struggles they went through. The supermarket was their safe place, shut away (not without some difficulty) from the disasters of the outside world that were occurring around them. It passed at a good pace, although, like I said, it could be too fast and sloppy at times.
Overall: 3/5 Stars. This book was slightly better than just “good”. The plot was really it’s best feature- the synopsis pulls you in, and as you read, you’re left fearing for the worst and yet feeling curious about what the “worst” may be.