Author: Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #1
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
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 a tough one. I’m having a hard time deciding if this was really good or not. It gave me the same kind of feeling I get when I watch “reality” shows – I can’t look away and get sucked in, all while thinking how dumb the people are. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Obviously I liked it on some level since I couldn’t stop reading, but I can’t figure out how much.
The story takes place in the future, set in a Colorado town called Monument. There are fuel shortages, everything runs on Networks, and a serious chain reaction of disasters hit the world causing total mayhem. While riding the bus to school one morning, Dean’s life is changed forever. Seriously, they need seatbelts on those things. In the midst of total chaos, fourteen kids ranging from kindergarteners to seniors in high school seek refuge in a huge Super Walmart type store. Then things go from bad to worse. The fourteen of them get locked inside – no one can get in or out, which actually turns out to be a very good thing. They are completely cutoff and don’t know whether their families are dead or alive.
You would think surviving in a place where you have everything at your disposal would be pretty easy, right? It is. However, the people you are stuck with might be the biggest obstacle. There were a lot of times the characters were annoyingly dumb. I mean, there was an entire kitchen section and electricity, yet it took one of the little kids to figure out to actually use the stuff. It’s things like that that bug me. Of course, there was a lot of drama: drugs, hook-ups, fights, etc. That’s where it sucked me in. Plus, the why the author wrote the book was interesting. The main character wrote down everything that happened in a journal, so it’s like he’s telling you the story in his own words. I actually liked the feel of it.
The characters were a diverse bunch. Dean, the main character, is what others call a ‘booker.’ I liked his voice for the story, but it annoyed me how dumb he was sometimes. At first it was hard keeping the names of the other characters straight, but the author did a great job at bringing each personality out that it made it easy to get to know them all. Some I wanted to punch, some I wanted to hug, and some cracked me up. So whether you love them or hate them, they were done well.
Overall, I do think it was pretty good… maybe in a guilty pleasure kind of way. The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was definitely entertaining. The ending had me wanting to read the next book for sure