Thursday, 31 May 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Add it: Goodreads
Source: eARC from publisher
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardcover, 294 pages
Release 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 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.
Monument 14 is a novel that immediately caught my eye. I mean... being trapped in a superstore? I think we've all had that fantasy at some point (I know I certainly did). There are so many directions with which the author could have taken the story and I would have been thrilled! Unfortunately, while I did moderately enjoy this book while reading it, it did not live up to my (admittedly high) expectations.

I think a large part of the problem for me was the main character, Dean. I was actually rather surprised by the choice of having Dean as a main character and while I can appreciate that the author was trying to use a character that I could sympathize with, it just didn't happen for me. I honestly found Dean's narration dull and frankly bizarre at times. It's the end of the world and everyone except your little group of school children may be dead... but you're going to spend lots of time writing in your journal about the exact dishes you prepared at every meal?

Some of the younger children were adorable (especially the twins!) and they had some fun adventures that were entertaining to read about but, for the most part, I felt the characters clinged to stereotypical roles.

An exciting and intriguing plot twist presented itself when NORAD chemicals start to make an appearance. The chemicals have different results on different people but without spoiling anything, I'll just say that some of the effects were pretty dramatic.

With events such as these, the action in the book increased substantially and I found myself very intrigued to continue reading. At some points, I did feel as though events happened randomly and I would have liked better flow but for the most part, Monument 14 was entertaining to read.

Despite the fascinating premise, Monument 14 failed to earn my complete adoration. However, I am interested in reading the sequel, especially if there is a change in narration!

Cover Comments: I really like it! It's so dramatic with the stormy sky and backs of the characters... It almost looks like a movie poster!



  1. Oh no! Such a shame the narrator was just so-so but I'm looking forward to meeting the entire cast! This sounds like such an interesting book - I can't wait to pick up my copy! Sadly I have a few (ahem) books to read before then but I'm very excited! Happy to hear you enjoyed this! :D Great review!

    Lisa | Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me

  2. I really appreciate your review because I, literally, just added this to my wish-list this morning! I'm not to fond of boy characters narrating the storyline - I never seem to connect with them. However, I do enjoy some books where both the main characters (a boy and a girl) take alternating chapters. Anyway. Brilliant review!

    New follower! Thanks so, so much for following my blog too! :D

    - Rachel♥

  3. Hahaha I TOTALLY have had that fantasy. Being trapped in a 'superstore' (they're supermarkets here. Or department stores. Both are different).

    A real shame to hear this wasn't quite what you anticipated. Especially your issues with the characters, (because in most cases) regardless of the plot, the characters are the HEART of the story. So it's difficult when you're not connecting with them.

    I am curious to see what happens when the chemicals enter the fray! That does NOT sound good :S Frawesome review!

  4. Oh no! I'm sorry it didn't live up to your expectations but I'm glad you still got some enjoyment out of it. I guess I related to Dean more because I understand his journaling, at least. I was a history major and I've done research, appraisal, and archives work so maybe I'm similarly minded to him. For instance, when 9/11 happened, I took out some loose leaf and documented the times things happened, what they were, and where I was. Unfortunately, I didn't keep it. I was in high school at the time and had so much AP work that I never found time to type up my account. But anyway, I think that's why I understand his need to write things down, even the meals. I loved M14 a LOT (LOL) and I have my review scheduled on its release day, the 5th, as well as an interview with Emmy Laybourne.

  5. Boo, I feel like a child who has just had the air let out of her balloon. For serious. I have been so excited to read this book, but I might not crash down the door of my LBS to pick it up. :/ But thanks for your honest review.

  6. It's a shame this one was a bit disappointing! I can understand though, the narrator doesn't sound like one I'd really connect to either. Glad you'd still be willing to read a sequel though! Fab review, thanks :).

  7. I loved the premise too!! And the cover is so movie-posteresque! Too bad the narration wasn't that great and it sounds really bizarre as well. I might give it a try just for the premise! As always, fab review, Sonia :)

  8. I wanna read this one so bad, too bad it didn't captivate you completely. Nice review!

  9. I agree, the cover looks like a movie poster! Sooo cool with all the hoodie, kids, and the stormy cloud!! x) Ah, it's too bad that the story inside doesn't really match the awesomeness of the cover! But I'm glad that there are still things you enjoy in the book, Sonia, like the plot twists. I LOVE plot twists! Most of the time I can't see it happen so I'm always delightfully surprised. x)

    Fantastic review like always, Sonia! :)

  10. 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.

  11. Amazing. I cried at the end. I got so infused with all of them i felt like i knew them personally. I think it got to me most because i am a younger girl and i have 3 amazing little brothers who would fit many of the characters. I9 hope the story continues.

  12. I have had my eye on this one for awhile. I am so glad that you enjoyed it as much as you did. I will have to crack it open. Thanks for the great review.

    grace (Alaska Hunts)