Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne [ARC REVIEW]

Monument 14
(Monument 14 #1)
by Emmy Laybourne
Summary from Goodreads:

"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."

“Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.”

Catchy isn’t it? Then I find out that the protagonist is a guy, plus this is a dystopian novel. Score! Unfortunately that’s all the excitement this book got from me.

Monument 14 is about a group of kids, they were riding a bus on the way to school on a day they thought would be as typical and ordinary as any of the days in their lives. Suddenly a monstrous hailstorm comes crashing down and a very traumatic accident befalls these kids. Thankfully, one elder rescues them and leads them into a superstore where they find refuge until things get better outside. The elder goes off to find help and leaves the big kids in charge of the little ones. And they spend a number of days in that store… like the remaining pages of the book itself. It was a frustrating wait for me.

I got to say the pacing of the plot is a little inconsistent. First we have a quick settlement of the disastrous event and then I see a constant recurring scene of cooking, eating, sleeping, cleaning and whatever other things that I don’t find relevant enough to be repeated annoyingly more than four times or so. Then we get some splash of crazy human reactions on chemical gasses spreading around, [insert recurring cooking, eating, sleeping, cleaning], also a spark of scary adults here and there [back to cooking, eating, sleeping, cleaning]. I was grateful for the surprise events in between but I feel it wasn’t enough to balance out the boring cooking, sleeping, cleaning parts (I’m saying that again ‘coz I was really annoyed about it).

Don’t even get me started on those characters. Ugh! Dean was supposed to be the protagonist but he seemed more of just a supporting character if you look at Niko (not sure of the spelling of his name, I forgot already) and Alex, Dean’s brother. They seem more significant than Dean. Everyone else just irritates me, even Josie. And also, Jake, I am not interested in finding out what names you gave to Astrid’s boobs! Sorry, everything here was just such a big mess and as much as I know they were going through a lot, I couldn’t empathize with them. The immaturity of a lot of them (yeah, I know they’re just kids but still I feel like if I were in the same situation, I’d try to grow some back bone!) and the constant whining and melodrama just gets in the way.

Now what do I think of the ending? I felt like the huge amount of “household chores” scenes was just a way to prolong the number of pages in this book so that they can make a second book out of it. I stuck through the book because I thought things were going to get better only to find myself a lot more disgruntled than satisfied by the end. 

*Thank you, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and NetGalley for the copy of Monument 14.


  1. Wow, thanks for the warning. This sounds...not for me! Great review, (cooking, sleeping,, sleeping, cleaning...)

  2. MONUMENT 14 is another of those post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world books that seem to be coming out in droves of late. I am the first to admit that the genre typically isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I've read a few of them in the past few months that I've actually really enjoyed (much to my surprise), and I can safely add this one to that list. The book isn't perfect by any means, but there was something very gripping and engaging about the narrative, and I found myself really enjoying Dean's voice, particularly the sense of humor that pervaded the book. It helped add levity to what was a terrible situation, and was probably the main reason I was unable to put this book down.

    1. I'm glad you liked it. I guess this just really isn't for me. ^_^

  3. I'm going to the signing tonight in Chicago and picking up my copy there :)


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