Friday, August 24, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

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.  - Goodreads.com

There's something about  me and disaster stories that just goes together great.  I love disaster movies and I love disaster books.  What does that say about me?  Anyway... Monument 14 fit right in with my love of disaster stories.  I don't really want to go into what has exactly happened to cause these 14 kids to seek refuge in a superstore because part of the drama is figuring out what exactly happened to the world around them, and knowing in advance might ruin it.

But these fourteen kids of varying ages are stuck in this superstore, barracaded in where nothing can get in and they can't get out.  One of the best parts of the story, to me, was how the older kids create such a familial atmosphere for the younger ones.  They take care of them, mother them, create a living space for them with beds, cook for them, and just generally care for them.  It was so amazing, and a testament to what can happen when teens are thrown into a survival situation where others depend upon them.

The characters were all so three dimensional which, I gotta tell you, was amazing in and of itself.  With a cast of 14, it's hard to make everyone have such a distinct and thorough personality, but the Emmy Laybourne succeeded admirably.  I did have my favorites, of course, but you just had to love all of these characters.  They each have strengths and weaknesses, both of which are tested and matured as the story progresses.

This story was filled with bravery and resourcefulness.  Some of these kids are willing to sacrifice so much for each other, and you just have to love them for it.  The ending was a powerful, heart-wrenching cliff-hanger that left me gasping and wanting more.  I am dying for the next book to come out.


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