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.
This is the third book I had nabbed at the Fierce Reads book tour and got signed by the fierce and funny Emmy Laybourne. (Honestly, she's awesome and within seconds had given me and my accompanying friend nicknames and had the whole room in fits of giggles with some of the things she said.) And surprisingly, the first time I had ever heard or even seen Monument 14 when I was looking at the Fierce Reads listings. I was ashamed because this book sounded amazeballs.
It was, indeed, amazeballs.
Okays, so this book comes along and is all, "I'm going to be written in a guy's POV because I'm just that awesome, or amazeballs, as you put it, and I will blow your UK flag socks off."* Instantly, you're drawn into this crumbling, life ending as you know it world. Within ten pages of the story beginning, the skies open up and release hell with their icy fists (aka, hail), a bus blows up, and fourteen kids ranging from the ages of seventeen, eighteen to just about five and six get trapped in a supermarket. Oh, and there's death, too.
My facial expression probably wasn't as girly as his was, but it pretty much sums up my emotions.
Like, seriously, this was my kind of book.
And to further contradict that statement, I am going to tell you that I actually do not usually read apocalyptic, end of the world stuff. Honestly, especially when I was younger, it creeps me out. Who wants to picture their imminent demise in some kind of violent way? Certainly not Younger Me. But since I seem to be a masochist in that department, I still watch those ridiculous movies and read those books.
Dean was a little wimp of a character. Sure he kept it kind of together for the sake of the youngins as the world began to crumble all around them, but he certainly wasn't you average I'm Going to Save the World and Kiss That Hot Girl Over There Passionately hero. He was an introvert, a 'booker', as the book put it. There seemed to be frequent moments where I wanted to throttle him because where I would have spoken up and did something, he stayed quiet and kind of held to the shadows of the group. Yet, there was something likable about his character, admirable even. He wasn't afraid to cry sometimes and show his true emotions, he was kind and patient with all of the little kids, and tried his best to stay close to his brother. Yes, he had his flaws and yes, he wasn't a leader, but in his own ways, he was a great and interesting character to read about.
What I really liked about this book was that all of the character, all fourteen of those kids, had dimension to them. I guess when you spend day and night with a bunch of people, even if you don't like them, you learn things about them. Some happen to be very surprising. Nothing was as it seems between any of the characters.
Story wise, the plot was a beastly little monster. When I thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. I don't even know how Emmy came up with all of this. I'd love to spend a day in her creative mind. Just imagine the wonders and the beasties you'd find! It was all expertly plotted out and paced. In other words, LOVED IT!
The only thing that I found that bothered me was the writing style. It wasn't that it was hard to comprehend, but it was much different than what I'm used to. But in all, Monument 14 has earned 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. It truly was a fierce read with a lot of stuff that kept me turning the pages with fierce determination. I know, I know. I'm using fierce a lot here, but there are no other words I could use that would adequately describe how I feel. So, I'm hoping after all that I have written here that I have persuaded all of you reading this to dash on over to your local library of bookstore and nab this book off the shelf as fast as your feet can carry you as if the hounds of hell are on your heels. Okay, so maybe you don't actually have to run like a vampire, but I'm just highly suggesting you read this book. Highly.
*I am guilty of wearing those UK flag socks.